Friday, November 9, 2007

Scary Stories

While checking the few weblogs that I read on a regular basis, I came across this on Bruce Schneier's security weblog. Bruce links back to here; it appears that the original piece resides here.

There are a number of people who are skeptical of this tale, and I have to admit that I'm one of them. I doubt that Mr. Merchant's tale unfolded exactly as he relates it to us. But I also agree with a point made by a number of other posters - the story shouldn't BE believable. To anyone in the United States. On either side of the political spectrum. Everyday Diplomacy shouldn't even be remotely plausible. We shouldn't have to concern ourselves with Amtrak conductors who style themselves as tin-plated dictators, or police officers who have decided that innocent or not, someone is going to be detained. Back in the day, you would have needed to set such a tale, especially a story this one-sided and clear-cut, in Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia or Communist China. And even then, perhaps you'd have been better off penning a science-fiction tale of some imaginary police state or some futuristic dystopia. The fact that you can set a story like this in the modern United States, and have American citizens nod their heads in agreement is symptomatic of a greater malady that desperately needs treatment. The idea that the United States has become a police state is clearly a minority position. But the fact that it's migrating out of the lunatic fringe means that we've let things go too far.

1 comment:

ben said...

I'll never forget people being dragged, screaming, from the train when we in the USSR in 80's.

I'll never forget the military bases in Guatemala with pictures of tourists with cameras being shot and the simple words "We dare you" written below.

That this happened in the US isn't surprising. That the people on the train didn't do something is disappointing, but typically human.

This is how it works. At airports - which is more terrifying, the TSA or the prospect of terrorists? The TSA would have to be pretty much murdering someone before I think anyone would dare stand up to them... and even then I believe everyone would stay in line.

Bush and his buddies aren't as dumb as they seem.