Tuesday, December 30, 2003

life in the united states of fear

ok. i am not much of a political guy. i know what i think about issues and the war yadayadayada, but i am not one to burden other people with my stupidity about those kinds of things. all that being said, i can't let this one go. late last night, for about 20 minutes there was a news story posted on yahoo about the department of homeland security (be afraid!) and their latest warning to law enforcement about things to look for in terms of suspicious behavior. the article is here for a day or so
the clear warning sign of an imminent terrorist attack on your community? you ready for this? carrying an ALMANAC and i quote

WASHINGTON - The FBI (news - web sites) is warning police nationwide to be alert for people carrying almanacs, cautioning that the popular reference books covering everything from abbreviations to weather trends could be used for terrorist planning.

are you kidding? this one ranks up there with the kfor (the fear network and also the local nkc affiliate) story about research that proved that hot chocolate could give you throat and mouth cancer. but i digress.
so now we are to watch out for people lugging around almanacs who are "acting in a suspicious manner". um excuse me, but isn't carrying around an almanac questionable behavior to start with? i don't know about terrorist plotting, but it does at the very least seem really sad.
i don't argue that maybe someone who wanted to do something bad might find an almanac useful. think about it. if you want to pull someting off exactly at sunset, you have to know what time the sun is setting, right? or say you wanted to deprive the great satan of corn, you would need to know which state to hit first to hae the greatest effect on corn production. gosh, how sad would you be if you were needing vital information like this and got confused and picked up a farmer's almanac instead? i can see it now

friendly neighborhood terrorist after making his purchase - "at last i can find out the exact dimensions of the (insert potential target here)!!"
he opens the almanac to read:
How many hard-boiled eggs can a man eat on an empty stomach?
One, because after he has eaten it, his stomach will not be empty.

fnt - "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO" we have been defeated once again by North America's oldest continuously published periodical!

or maybe he could pick up a sports almanac instead. maybe reading about babe ruth or wilt chamberlain would make him realize that we aren't so bad after all.

i know there are serious threats out there and i know that there are people who's lives are dedicated to dealing with these threats and making sure that my local walmart isn't blown up by almanac wielding funadmentalist psychopaths (almost sounds like the deacon body of many churches i know -- ok sorry about that one), but come on. at what point do we become so afraid of every little thing that we jump at shadows and start turning each other in to the police because our neighbor came home late one night carrying a leaf blower (banned from all airline flights) and an atlas (terrorists need maps too)? how 'bout let's ease up on telling barney fife to stake out the library and let him go back to setting speed traps as people drive through his town? how 'bout let's stop telling every american to develop a kit in case their suburban gated community is the target of a biological / chemical attack? how 'bout no more profiling and targeting people who look like they might be middle eastern because "they might be one of those"?
geez no wonder americans are so lonely - we're afraid of each other. thanks for that Tom (Ridge).

putting the soap box away and waiting for the FBI to stop by


Post a Comment

<< Home