Civil Disobedience In The Case Of Nathaniel Heatwole

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Civil Disobedience is a term that varies among different people. In the mind of Henry David Thoreau the definition of Civil Disobedience requires you to have at least three things. You must be able to identify an issue at hand. You must be willing to take action for that issue. You must be prepared to take responsibility for those actions. A case that perfects these three ideas of Thoreau, is the case of Nathaniel Heatwole. Nathaniel Heatwole was a twenty year old college student who tested the United States airline agencies on their airport security. In his test, Heatwole uncovered the extreme lack of efficient airport security, when he successfully smuggled weapons and other alarming items aboard several aircrafts. Through the definition …show more content…
Thoreau writes, “How can a man be satisfied to entertain an opinion merely, and enjoy it?” (Thoreau 232). In simpler terms, how can someone stand back and complain about how terrible something is, yet do nothing about it? Many could say that Thoreau’s action towards fixing the injustices in society was simply writing “Resistance to Civil Government.” In writing this piece he presents a rally cry for others to do something about the things they believe are wrong. For Heatwole it is obvious that he believed airport security was not up to expected standards, and was willing to take action for his cause. In efforts to improve airport security the twenty year old concealed a weapon on himself, while also planting potentially dangerous items aboard several other aircrafts. These items included: box cutters, bleach, strike anywhere matches, and molding clay shaped into the form of plastic explosions. After planting the items Heatwole went as far as sending emails of the whereabouts of these items to the Transportation Security Administration. While some may say they were drastic, Heatwole’s actions were necessary in producing the outcome he wanted with airline security, and contributed to a cause that would be beneficial to society. (“Student …show more content…
It was not civil action. It was not public service.” (“Student charged”). But how could the actions of Heatwole not be considered all of these things? From the beginning Heatwole states that this was a “test” of airport security. He tested the safety measures of airline security and the Transportation Security Administration failed miserably. They failed to detect several dangerous items being brought aboard multiple aircrafts. Civil action is defined as action taken to protect a private civil right or to create civil remedy. Isn’t it our right as Americans to feel safe when we travel on our airline transportation? Finally, how could Heatwole’s actions not be considered a public service? The public obviously benefited from what he did. The claims of Thomas DiBiagio do nothing to support his claims that Nathaniel Heatwole’s actions were not ones of civil

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