Protect Me From Lawsuits!
You would think, the way lawsuits are often written about, that they are a blight on society that threatens everyone's future. Michelle Malkin blogs about a House Republican initiative to protect people from being sued for reporting "suspicious activity," by other passengers on airlines or on public transportation.
I'm not entirely without sympathy for this position. Every day, when I ride the subways in New York City, I hear an announcement urging me to tell MTA officials or NYPD officers if I see suspicious activity. If the government is encouraging me to do so, then I shouldn't be sued for it.
But, the potential for abuse here is so obvious that it barely needs explaining. If I'm a racist, for example, I could report a member of my favorite hated race as suspicious. Should the person I've reported have no recourse against me? What if I'm not a racist but just paranoid? Does everyone in the world have to conform to standards of behavior that don't spark my paranoia?
This all arises from a lawsuit brought by several muslim clerics who were removed from a flight because they prayed in the terminal before boarding and then sat in the wrong seats on the plane. They're suing the people who identified them as suspicious.
Again, I have some sympathy for the people who complained about them -- it's been our government and media that has told people that suicide bombers pray before the act -- but... what if I complained about a Christian praying before or on a flight? What about the (correct) right wing insistence that public displays of religion are entirely protected by the constitution?
Look... muslims have the right to pray in public. If that makes you uncomfortable, get over it. If it makes you call the authorities, curtail their right to travel and subject them to an investigation, why exactly shouldn't they be able to sue you?