Minority Report, This Isn't
In our recent debate over both the constitutionality and effectiveness of red flag laws, there have been a lot of comparisons to the movie Minority Report. In case you’re unfamiliar, Minority Report is a science fiction film set in a future world where technology exists which allows for the prediction and prevention of crime…thus the comparison to red flag laws.
It has been a while since I last saw the movie and it’s on Amazon Prime right now, so I decided a re-watch was in order. But in the first few minutes, the movie itself smashes any comparisons to our red flag laws, current or proposed.
Faced with a case of potential murder and the countdown clock ticking, the protagonist works frantically to decode exactly where and when the crime will occur. As the tension builds, and the team races the clock to pinpoint the exact location of the pre-crime, they assemble and deploy a tactical team to swoop in and grab the not-yet-a-criminal.
Only seconds remain as they narrow it down to two adjacent houses, but refuse to move in until they know exactly which house is the correct pre-scene of the pre-crime. They could just as easily have taken down both houses, rather than risk selecting the wrong one…but they did not. Watch the scene in question here:
This is a key difference in the imaginary world of Minority Report, and the reality which is red flag laws. Even with the advanced (yet fallible) technology of the future, the movie cops wouldn’t simply grab up anybody who might be a threat…they waited until they were sure. They wouldn’t risk arresting an innocent person, even in the name of preventing a murder.
Unfortunately, that was fiction. Our red flag laws enjoy neither the technology nor the restraint of Minority Report…but they are real. Who would have thought a dystopian sci-fi flick would offer a rosier picture than present-day America?
Contact your legislators now to demand they oppose red flag laws.