Valdosta Daily Times

What We Think

March 14, 2014

Hypocrisy about tracking

VALDOSTA — As authorities from multiple countries continue to search for answers in the mystery of the missing Malaysia Airlines jet, a quirk of human nature is being highlighted.

As individuals, the notion that the government -- any government-- can find you, see what you are doing, listen to your phone calls, track your movements, etc. is repugnant. We rebel against this lack of freedom to come and go as we please, say what we want in the privacy of our homes, on our computers and phones, and consider what the National Security Agency has been doing for years an unwarranted and unwanted invasion of privacy.

Yet when the jetliner went missing, and several days have passed with officials still attempting to piece together what may have happened, that human quirk surfaces and people demand answers. Why doesn't the government know? Why didn't the government track the plane better? Why can't satellites find the plane? And on and on.

It's an understandable reaction for those with loved ones aboard the aircraft, as the pain of not knowing is anguishing. However, for those with no personal connection, including the pundits on the various news programs, it's odd to hear them talk about how the world's countries need to track their citizens better. They find it impossible to believe that the world isn't under a microscope, but many only want it there when it's convenient for their purposes.

Until answers are found, our prayers are with the families. Searching thousands of miles of vast ocean, hundreds of miles deep, with strong currents and an unknown starting point is daunting. The mystery will be solved, but doubtfully quickly. But even if it meant knowing exactly what happened, exactly the moment it happened, would we all relinquish our privacy to that degree? Think about it.

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