18 Inches of Daylight
“Give me 18 inches of daylight, that’s all I need,” Hall of Fame Running Back Gayle Sayers stated unequivocally when he played. That was all he needed, a small crack, a narrow opening in the line of the defense, to break through into the secondary, and run for a touchdown. He did that 22 times in his Rookie-of-the-Year season in 1965, and 6 times alone versus San Francisco that year. He exploited small openings and tiny cracks as he ran his way to Canton, Ohio.
Last week, tech giant Apple announced a new feature that will allow it to scan the photos on our iPhones and iPads to detect if they contain sexually explicit imagery involving children which they will report to the authorities. On the surface, this sounds like a great idea. Who is not for protecting children? Who wouldn’t be willing to do whatever is necessary to catch the evil people who sexually exploit our youth? The proponents of this feature will claim if you are not for Apple doing this, then you are for child pornography. But in reality, this is their “18 inches of daylight”. This is their crack in the line of defense. Apple and big tech do not care about child pornography. In the fall of 2020, at the same time that Twitter and other social media platforms were banning Donald Trump and other conservatives’ accounts, they were allowing pedophiles to use their platforms with impunity to aid in their exploitation of children.
The guise of going after child pornographers is the crack in the defense that big tech wants to exploit to track everything you say and do. Look what has been done to the Patriot Act. The act was passed in 2002 in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and it was designed to target and find international terrorists threatening the United States and its allies. Who wouldn’t be for tracking down terrorists? But through the years, the Patriot Act has been used by our government time and again to surveil and track United States citizens without a warrant for potential crimes that had nothing to do with terrorist activity against the United States.
This is what leftists always do. They look for or create a crack in the line of defense, and exploit it to get what they want. The initial argument for abortion was to help women in dire life circumstances like pregnancies arising from rape and incest, or to protect the life of the mother. Most people are so sympathetic to the plight of those women that they will do most anything to help them. That was the crack, the extreme example which creates the small opening that the left blasts through. Now that it is legal, we have over 900,000 abortions every year, and 98% of them have nothing to do with rape, incest, or life of the mother. Abortion has become what the leftist always wanted it to be but would never publicly admit; a form of birth control; and rape victims, and dying pregnant women were exploited for that end.
The reasons that leftists offer to justify unjustifiable acts are rarely their desired intent to commit those acts. So, it is a simple step from Apple scanning your phone for child pornography to the government scanning your phone for “wrong” political opinions. The fact that Apple is a “private” company means nothing. After January 6, 2021, private company Bank of America turned over private financial records of its customers to the intelligence agencies to track people who happened to be in Washington, DC that day. Recently, the Biden administration has redefined the word terrorist to include American citizens so they can surveil their political opponents. This is why they have labeled “domestic terrorism” the biggest threat in America. If the citizens have become the biggest threat, then the government can use the same rationale to track the citizens without a warrant that they used to track international terrorists.
This is not the first time something like this has been done to US citizens. In 1917, the National Security Agency was formed as a cryptanalytic agency to decipher encrypted cable and telegraph messages of Germany during World War 1. That makes sense. Shouldn’t we have an agency to spy on our enemies during war? The NSA grew over the years to become an official part of the Department of Defense in 1952, and it continued to expand and accumulate more and more power through the years, with a broader purview, exploiting the initial 18 inches of daylight it was given. According to leaked documents obtained in 2013 by Edward Snowden, a former NSA contractor, the NSA intercepts and stores the communications of United States citizens, tracks their movements using their cellphones' metadata.
Likewise, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act was passed in 1978, establishing procedures for the physical and electronic surveillance and collection of "foreign intelligence information" between "foreign powers" and "agents of foreign powers" suspected of espionage or terrorism. The Act created the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to oversee requests for surveillance warrants by federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies. But in 2016-17, FISA warrants were used by the Obama FBI to spy on an opposition party’s campaign, transition and Presidency. The government used the power of the FISA court in ways not even remotely close to what it originally was designed for.
And now, within Congress’ new “infrastructure bill” there is a provision that would force all new cars to be equipped with alcohol monitors under the guise of preventing the 10,000+ deaths in drunk driving accidents each year. It makes sense, don’t we all want to prevent those tragic deaths? What doesn’t make sense is that these devices are monitored by the government when there are already devices in existence that simply prevent the car from starting if the driver is intoxicated without being monitored. Wouldn’t that prevent the same deaths without the government intrusion into our privacy? But the government doesn’t care about the drunk driving deaths, they want to use the facade of drunk driving prevention to get into your car and track everywhere you go, and eventually track everything you say in your car.
This is what totalitarians do. Totalitarians act like totalitarians. It’s in their DNA. Totalitarians are always at the door. They are always looking for cracks or openings to exploit so they can act like totalitarians. They are always the ones arguing for the power to infringe on your rights, to suspend the Constitution for your own good, or in the name of the greater good. But be careful, because once they take your rights, you’ll never get them back.
Judd Garrett is a graduate from Princeton University, and a former NFL player, coach, and executive. He has been a contributor to the website Real Clear Politics. He has recently published his first novel, No Wind.