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”.