Saturday, February 18, 2006
With all the joys of travel that the Teen Style staff described for this month's issue, it seemed only natural to talk about what can be one of vacation's biggest hassles: airport security checks.
After a brief discussion of overly sensitive metal detectors -- "One time it was a button on the inside of my jeans," said Josie Pacana, 15. "I'm wearing a killer button, watch out!" -- talk quickly spread to the larger issue of the government's role in protecting the United States, such as the decision by President Bush to authorize the wiretapping of domestic and international phone lines shortly after Sept. 11.
"I think people have a right to know if their phones are being tapped," said Suzie Ford, 17.
Her sister agreed.
"Your phone calls are your personal business," said Chrissy Ford, 15. "It's kind of like someone going through your trash."
"What if your personal business is killing people?" replied Devon Barker, 17.
Although Pacana said government officials "shouldn't be able to bypass the law" by tapping lines without warrants, 16-year-old Kylie Hawes said that Americans give the officials that exact responsibility when we vote them into office.
"The government is elected to protect us," she said. "I see wiretapping as a really effective way to fight terrorism."
Hawes said that in a class at Steamboat Springs High School, she has recently learned about the "social contract" theory of 17th-century British philosopher John Locke, which states that when people choose to live under the rule of an elected government, they choose to accept the policies of that government.
"It's the price you pay for freedom," Hawes said.
"Then it's not really freedom," Suzie Ford replied.
Most of the nine Teen Style members in attendance said that no matter how tight national security gets, another terrorist act on American soil is likely.
"Of course it's going to," Chrissy Ford said. "Maybe not soon, but it's going to happen again. Something always slips through."
Despite the perceived inevitability, only a couple of the teens said homeland security is one of the five most important issues for the country today. Global warming, poverty, unemployment and obesity all rate higher, several teens said.
Sounds like some future hot topics.