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Pa. man asks borough to reaffirm rights

April 07, 2003|by RICHARD BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Benjamin Franklin once said, "They that can give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

That quotation is the philosophy Chris Fewell has embraced in his effort to persuade the Waynesboro Borough Council to pass a resolution reaffirming for local residents the protections guaranteed all Americans in the Bill of Rights.

Fewell, 26, of West Fourth Street, presented the council with a draft resolution that opposes, among other things, the USA Patriot Act signed into law by President Bush on Oct. 26, 2001, unconstitutional executive orders and presidential directives.

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Borough Council President Douglas Tengler accepted the draft from Fewell without comment except to thank him for his remarks at Wednesday's council meeting.

Fewell, an estimator with a Washington County home construction company, said his background as a home-schooled child has instilled in him a sense of personal freedom.

He belongs to such groups as the Home School Legal Defense Fund, a congressional lobbying organization, and has participated in marches in Washington at a Second Amendment rally supporting the right to bear arms and a peace rally in January, he said in an interview this week.

"After 9/11 there has been a trend to enact more restrictive legislation at all levels of government - state, local and federal," he said. "Under the Patriot Act, the government doesn't need a warrant to arrest anyone who has been labeled an enemy combatant.

"The government is watering down our civil rights by passing laws that restrict our liberties," he said. "If we give up our liberties, then the terrorists will have won."

Fewell said the resolution is being considered by nearly 70 cities and towns across the country. It was drafted by a group called Texans for Freedom.

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