EDITORIAL: New courthouse rule addresses safety

Dec. 15, 2012 @ 05:00 AM

Our nation is built upon a bedrock of freedoms and liberty. Throughout our history, we Americans have enjoyed greater freedoms than any other population in the world.

Sometimes, however, those freedoms are curtailed — for the greater good of all people — because of abuses by those who take such freedoms for granted.

A case in point was this week’s announcement that electronic devices will be banned from the Lee County Courthouse, beginning Jan. 1. Other counties in our area have begun to enforce similar bans.

For those who’d argue about freedoms being hijacked, it’s important they consider the reason for the ban.

Safety concerns are being cited, which makes perfect sense. Officials say weapons and tasers have been fashioned to appear to look like cell phones. Other innocuous-looking devices — calculators, for instance — have been made to conceal knives.

Local officials say that there haven’t been any incidents involving such weapons at the Lee County Courthouse thus far. Metal detectors present have heretofore provided a strong deterrent, but a ban on all devices (including cell phones, which most of us now carry) is another step in protection, not in limited freedoms.

So why the ban throughout the building?

Chief Deputy Randall Butler makes a good point in noting that it would be easier to control and could help prevent violence in all situations.

“Just because they’re only going to the clerk’s office doesn’t mean they’re not going to get upset,” he said.