Sometimes I just want to pimp slap people.
Last summer, I was at dinner during a sales convention. The conversation didn’t get political until someone mentioned the NSA.
There is one in every crowd. Someone piped up and said, “They can spy on me all they want. I am not doing anything wrong.”
They sang this song in Germany in 1933. And they sang it with unprecedented gusto in the months following 9/11, all in the name of “security” and “keeping us safe”.
We were at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, the world’s second largest hotel. Nothing in the post-9/11 “national security” apparatus would prevent a terrorist from walking in, setting off a bomb, and killing hundreds or even thousands of people.
The more important questions are: How do you know you are doing nothing that could be construed as wrong by some state functionary? How do you know you are not breaking some law somewhere? And why are you so implicitly trusting that your government would never do anything evil with the information it has collected on you?
This is not purely an academic matter. The practical implications are profound.
I give you several examples.
1. Niakea Williams went to her son’s St. Louis-area elementary school one day to pick up her son, who has Asperger’s. The school was put on lockdown and Mrs. Williams was escorted out in handcuffs.
2. Adrionna Harris was almost expelled from her middle school in Virginia Beach after taking a razor blade away from a fellow student who was trying to harm himself.
3. Read what Houston police did to this man who gave 75 cents to a homeless person.
4. A little known Denver parking ordinance can get you a $25 fine even if you haven’t exceeded the two-hour limit.
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