Potential terrorist

Someone sent me a link to an article about proposed anti-terror legislation that includes some fairly broad language about who may be a ‘potential terror suspect’. First off, every human being on the planet is a ‘potential’ terror suspect. Potential being a pretty inclusive term, I can also say that everyone reading this is a potential rapist, potential arsonist, potential Nobel Prize winner, potential movie star and even a potential potentate. It’s one thing to go after the sharks but when you throw a big enough net you sometimes get all the wrong fish.

One interesting take on how to gauge new legislation is through the Jews In The Attic test.

I explained to the others in my little band of activists that I looked at all laws that restricted freedom with a view to the impact it would have in a worst case scenario of our government run amok. Will this law make it difficult or impossible to protect innocent life from a government intent on their imprisonment or death? Although I pretty much made everything up on the spot I told them I called this test my “Jews In The Attic Test”. Furthermore I told them that if it fails this test no further discussion is really needed, the law must be opposed in the most vigorous manner possible.

A lovely thought experiment that is interesting to hold already established laws against as well as proposed ones.

What does any of this have to do with preparedness? Well, according to some reports (which I have not established the veracity of), the feds are urging sellers of things likely to be on a survivalists checklist to be suspicious of:

People or groups who:

* Provide identification that is inconsistent or suspect or demand identity “privacy”
* Insist on paying with cash or uses credit card(s) in different names
* Make suspicious comments regarding anti-US, radical theology, vague or cryptic warnings that suggests or appear to endorse the use of violence in support of a cause
* Demonstrate interest in uses that do not seem consistent with the intended use of the item being purchased
* Possess little knowledge of intended purchase items
* Make bulk purchases of items to include:
-Weatherproofed ammunition or match containers
-Meals Ready to Eat
-Night Vision Devices; night flashlights; gas masks
-High capacity magazines
-Bi-pods or tri-pods for rifles

A person spends thousands of dollars on food to feed their family in a crisis but they want to pay for it in cash and refuse to identify themselves? How utterly horrible for the .gov. Speaking as someone who has moved a lot of MRE’s and storage food into the consumer pipeline, I can tell you that if someone walks in and drops $1600 for twenty cases of Mountain House, pays with cash, and doesn’t offer up their name…well…as long as those are real hundred dollar bills I don’t care who you are and why you want it. And, honestly, it’s no one else’s business either. I’m sure some would say that I’m “part of the problem” and that “if those people have nothing to hide” they shouldn’t have any problems with their name being attached to a receipt. Rightly or wrongly, I consider those people to be …. unwise.

Having nothing to hide is not a condition of privacy, in my world. Is it possible that some nutjob will buy a half ton of fertilizer a drum of diesel, whip up a bomb and blow something up? Sure, it’s possible. Should that possibility mean that every person buying fertilizer or gassing up a truck be compelled to show ID and get on a list somewhere? Not to me, it doesn’t.

Is there really a .gov plan to come after people who ‘hoard’ food, fuel, guns, ammo, etc.? I doubt it. It may happen, sure, but is there actually a written plan somewhere that starts off with “Find all the survivalists and take their gear”? Doubtful. This isnt to say that it doesnt happen, but rather that it isn’t part of a greater contingency plan somewhere. I remember reading about people tossing gas cans and generators into the back of their trucks, driving to New Orleans to help out friends or family after Katrina, and getting stopped at checkpoints and having their ‘spare’ fuel and generators confiscated by the authorities who justified it on their ‘needs’. Again, not something I’ve researched the veracity of but seems plausible considering some of the other amazingly outrageous things that happened down there.

Fortunately, the overwhelming majority of purchases I’ve made (and make) are cash transactions at places where no one really asks for a name. (Like supermarkets, pawn shops, and those sorts of venues) If I did go into some place to buy, say, a couple 50# bags of wheat and the salesperson asked me for ID I would tell them that I didn’t bring it and if its a dealbreaker, so be it. About the only things that really call for ID are gun purchases and I usually try to buy unpapered guns as much as possible.

So…’potential terrorist’, indeed. I should have that put on a business card. “Hi! My name is….potential terrorist”.

0 thoughts on “Potential terrorist

  1. One day people are talking conspiracies about all the things the governments tracking and is gonna do, the next they they’re telling you how the governments all screwed up and can’t do the simplest thing right. People really need to make up their minds.

  2. @ Michael: The United States government is the largest, most powerful, most effective organization that human civilization has ever known when it comes to accomplishing any one objective with perfect precision.

    Paradoxically, it is also in the running as one of the most wasteful, corrupt, poorly administered, and failure-prone collaboration in modern-times when it comes to trying to do everything for everyone.

    Think “Moon-Landing” vs. “Katrina rescue.”

  3. At the local SecState (DMV for some of you folks) today and had an interesting conversation with the clerk. The clerks have been there for years (25+ for some of them) and they know me as I’ve been going there even longer. Anyway, she was telling me about a guy earlier this month who had to sign a DL renewal form and did so with a bunch of extra language around his signature such as “with prejudice” and some other stuff she couldn’t make out. Basically the various disclaimers the “no ID needed” folks like to put on forms they have to sign because they think it gives them some sort of an out or uses some sort of legal loophole.

    She wanted to avoid a hassle with the guy so she submitted the form as-is. State capitol bounced it back and the guy not only had to come back in and redo everything, she said he’s on a list they keep of just such folks.

    And I agree 100% with Peter.

  4. I like the Jews in the Attic test, but there is no practical difference between the government being able to detect them or terrorists in your attic. At the time, Jews were more or less perceived as terrorists as a result of diligent brainwashing by the Nazi regime, with some help from old prejudices. Since .gov is on a crusade to dramatically expand powers, the test won’t be of much use. Now would be a convenient time to have a much lower profile.

    The real problem, then and now, is sociopaths in positions of power. They serve themselves first, their friends second and put the rest of us in work camps. Arbitrary power, including the power to say who is suspected of aiding terrorists, always is abused.

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