I never really know for sure whether my instinctive distrust of anticrime and antiterrorist laws is based in reality or just my biases. The US march toward a prison society approach to social and economic problems seems to be a destructive but politically popular. In the same way, there has been such intense criticism of the Patriot Act from civil libertarians, I'm often unsure how much of this criticism is warranted. Lots of laws could
be used to suppress dissent but I often wonder how often these laws are
used to suppress dissent. "Runaway Train" looks to address that question to some extent. Here's excerpt from the review AlterNet: Rights and Liberties: Runaway Train: The True Story of the U.S. Patriot Act
"Yet these oversimplifications don't overshadow the film's compelling argument: the Patriot Act was indeed ushered into law before Congress could carefully consider its consequences and without any mechanisms for public intervention. The result is that while the US is no safer than it was before September 11th, this legislation has enacted legal changes that not only target possible "terrorists" but also criminalize almost any U.S. citizen who dissents. The many personal narratives in the film add a rich texture to these bare bone facts about the Patriot Act and illustrate who really pays for this reactionary and discriminatory legislation: immigrants, people of color, and potentially every single US citizen. "
The review notes some problems but it's still seems worth viewing to me.