It’s a point I’ve made before–most of our ‘anti-terrorism’ infrastructure, at least within the U.S., targets people who are essentially harmless. Depending on your point of view, they might be annoying or even disruptive, but they hardly constitute a clear and pleasant danger.
You might remember, when the Texas Lege was trying to make obtaining safe and legal abortions more difficult, the Texas Department of Public Safety (TDPS) overreacted, based on a ‘tip’ by one advocate for illegal and unsafe abortion, and confiscated all sorts of items from visitors including tampons. TDPS was worried that protestors would hurl jars of feces at legislators. I realize Freud is passé, but, damn… Besides, I realize some people are unclear on the biology, but that’s the wrong orifice fellas (I’m a Biologist. I know things).
Anyway, the Poopgate files have been released. Before we get to the serious stuff, go have a good chuckle at some of the TDPS emails. My favorite:
Open source reports pro-choice supporter “offering” to “flash mob” and strip down in the Capitol.
Apparently, they didn’t realize there’s a difference between a flash mob and flashing. Did I ever mention the issue of competency?
The other funny-but-not-really bit was the analyst for the Intelligence and Counterterrorism Division who noted the possibility of drumming in the Rotunda. While it’s tempting to mock this inanity (and, to maintain one’s sanity, a little mockery goes a long way), there is a serious issue here:
None of this is terrorism.
It’s potentially disruptive. Probably annoying. But it is not, to use an old fashioned phrase, a clear and present danger. It is not a street filled with maimed people. It is not a person screaming incoherently and covered with blood staggering into you. It is not the blasted body of a murdered child. I know this.
Yet our ‘counterterrorism’ assets are primarily use to thwart the terrifying specter of drum circles and flash mobs, or target other political undesirables such as the pacifist grandmothers of Code Pink, while failing once again, a decade after Sept. 11th, to connect the proverbial dots in Boston.
Just so we’re clear about what we’re really doing.