Computers, cellphones and landlines in Arizona were knocked out of service for hours, ATMs stopped working, 911 systems were disrupted and businesses were unable to process credit card transactions — all because a vandal apparently sliced through a fiber-optic Internet cable buried under the desert.
The Internet outage did more than underscore just how dependent modern society has become on high technology. It raised questions about the vulnerability of the nation’s Internet infrastructure.
As a great Scottish engineer once opined, “”The more they overthink the plumbing, the easier it is to stop up the drain.” Preparedness is largely about compensating for failures of a particular system…infrastructure, mechanical, biological, etc….in short, it’s about being able to operate safely (if not normally) when something goes wrong with the usual system.
he internet, Crom love it, is the most awesome thing humanity has access to on a day-by-day basis. So, of course, we wind up being dependent on it. Two guys with a shovel, hacksaw, and probably some old cartome.org info, managed to pull the plug on a region’s ecommerce, phone communications, and other services. Without internet access, ATM’s dont pass out money and your local retailer won’t take your debit card…so you need cash, which the ATM just denied you.
This is why its a good idea to keep a bit of cash tucked away, have alternatives for communication, and other ways to entertain yourself.
What’s really interesting about this is that it seems similar to that episode a few years back where someone attacked an electric substation in the desert and wound up inflicting a similar amount of out-of-proportion mischief. All it takes to really screw things up is a small(!) amount of dedicated individuals. Two brothers shut down all of Boston a few years ago, costing millions of dollars and throwing a monkeywrench into a lot of peoples lives. Imagine a coordinated effort by a dozen people in six different states. You won’t overthrow a country like that, but you will sure make life miserable for it. So, as always, be prepared for alternatives when someone crashes the internet..or the local utilities…or the pipeline that brings natural gas to your county….etc, etc.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Drug Enforcement Administration abandoned an internal proposal to use surveillance cameras for photographing vehicle license plates near gun shows in the United States to investigate gun-trafficking, the agency’s chief said Wednesday.
This is why some folks attend these events in either cars that are not their own, or park well away from the show and walk in. (You know who you are!) There have been cases in the past of people jotting down the license plates of cars parked at gun shows, and I do believe there was an episode in California where cars were followed from a Nevada border gun shop into California. Its a maddening state of affairs when this sort of thing is even considered.
Tangentially, Im not a fan of license plate readers. I was aghast and appalled to discover that my beloved Montana actually has readers at the border on I-90 to scan all plates coming and going in/out of the state. This is one of those areas that I just cannot get past emotionally. On an intellectual standpoint I can tell myself that the state has a right to monitor access on its thoroughfares, that there’s nothing illegal about it, etc, etc….but on an emotional level I want to head out there at 2am with a hammer and break every one of those stupid things.
Back to the issue at hand, though….. I loves me some gun shows. And if I’m not a ‘prohibited person’, then my parking at the gun show should be absolutely no ones business but mine and the person in the space next to me whose door I scuff. In a perfect world, the person who suggested license plate monitoring of people who haven’t given any indication of breaking the law would be told to clean out his desk and be out of the building faster than he can say “If you have nothing to hide then you should……..”.
The largest gun show in the state takes place close enough to me that I usually just ride my bicycle to the gun show. However, that doesn’t mean Im cool with .gov and their increasing ‘pre-crime’ maneuvering.
When CNN launched in 1980, founder Ted Turner already knew how it was going to end. “Barring satellite problems, we won’t be signing off until the world ends,” he reportedly said. “When the end of the world comes, we’ll play ‘Nearer My God To Thee’ before we sign off.”
According to various rumors over the past three decades, Turner made good on that promise, creating a tape that would only be played in case of apocalypse: the combined Armed Forces marching band playing “Nearer My God to Thee,” according to The New Yorker. But few people had ever seen the tape… until now. Jalopnik writer Michael Ballaban has posted a grainy, minute-long video that he says he unearthed in 2009 while interning for Wolf Blitzer at The Situation Room, under the simple name “Turner Doomsday Video” (as seen in the screenshot above.) Formatted for standard-definition 4:3 television, it would make a bizarre sight today — although we might, obviously, be too busy with the end of days to notice.
Gotta tell you, if its the end of the world I have a lot better things to do than sit around watching CNN playing band music. And even if the end of the world event were truly ‘end of the world’ where we’re all 100% guaranteed dead tomorrow I would still have something(s) better to do and they mostly involve me being naked and a whole buncha chicks who realize that they’ve nothing left to lose.
Clearly the recent events in Australia aren’t real..I mean, after the Port Arthur episode they enacted all sorts of gun control to keep that sorta thing from happening, right?
Interestingly, the places most likely to have a large population of potential would-be terrorists tend to be the large urban population centers that restrict the ability of the citizens to discretely arm themselves. Some slob in Manhattan, San Francisco, or Chicago walks into a 7-11 and starts waving a gun around is far less likely to get a bullet for his troubles than if he had pulled the same stunt in, say, well, most red states.
I don’t know whether statistics bear it out or not, but I would think that would-be terrorists are less likely to to get their jihad on when theres a reasonable chance that one of the folks they’re trying to corral into the walk-in freezer has a Glock in the pocket. Certainly having a little ace up your sleeve isnt a guarantee that youre going to get out of a situation like that, but I’d definitely feel my odds were better with it than without.
Of course, these sorts of precautions aren’t limited to worrying about terrorists. Given the increasingly unstable natures of a large portion of the population these days, it’s a good idea to drop the 640 or the G26 into the coat pocket when you walk out the door.
Here in the quiet hinterboonies the odds of some sort of recent immigrant-who-failed-to-assimilate going nuts and holding hostages in the local WalMart is virtually nil. It’s far more likely to be some low-class loser who just got kicked out of the trailer by his babymomma and figures he and his HiPoint will make the world pay. The proper response and solution to the problem, though, remains the same.
Well, as you may be aware, the big news around here these days is the Kaarma case. As you can imagine there’s a bit of a divide about the whole thing…there’s one camp that beats their chest and thunders that “Anyone inside my house unlawfully deserves to be shot and killed” and then theres another side that says “There wasnt anything here worth shooting anyone over”. I’m mostly in the latter camp. Plus…hunting over bait is usually unethical.
And, as I was walking around doing errands today, I spotted this little jewel that made me feel better:
Not sure what these guys are gonna sell, but whatever it is I’ll at least come in and look around. Come to think of it, Im a little embarassed that I dont already have one of these in the window at my shop.