About Me

A blog wherein a literary agent will sometimes discuss his business, sometimes discuss the movies he sees, the tennis he watches, or the world around him. In which he will often wish he could say more, but will be obliged by business necessity and basic politeness and simple civility to hold his tongue. Rankings are done on a scale of one to five Slithy Toads, where a 0 is a complete waste of time, a 2 is a completely innocuous way to spend your time, and a 4 is intended as a geas compelling you to make the time.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Another rant on homeland "security"

Sadly two Hungarian touriststs died in a duck tour accident in Philadelphia this week. That is two more people than have died from succesful islamic terrorism attacks in the in the US in the past 8 years. Yet we live our lives under constant assault from the security state that has developed in the US. I can enter a major league baseball stadium with a factory-sealed water bottle but not with the same bottle in its entirely empty state. I must wait on line and present photo ID to enter midtown office buildings filled with people and companies nobody in the world cares about. Airport security theatre.. Bag checks for the Bryant Park FIlm Festival. I'm not linking to all of my earlier posts, click the Homeland "security" tag to find more.

And as it turns out, going on a duck tour in Philadelphia is more dangerous.

OK, I'm being a little tiny bit flip here. If or even when there's a successful suicide bomb attack in the NYC subways, that will be a very bad thing on a level of awfulness far beyond two Hungarian tourists dying in the Delaware. And in fact, I think the random bag checks the NYPD does in the NYC subways are some of the few instances in which there's a balance struck between privacy issues, a tax on time and resources that hurts our economy and ourselves in many subtle ways, and the need to keep the western world functioning without choking on security bullshit.

But will the country ever wake up and realize that our civil liberties aren't just what the NRA decides is meant by the Second Amendment. That there is something very wrong when we go around passing laws that make it easier for all of us to have guns but make it a sin to bring in a factory-sealed 16oz bottle of Diet Coke to a Mets game vs. a factory-sealed water bottle? When I have to carry my papers to visit my accountant in his office building.

And what scares me even more is that there's a generation of people, as it's nine years now after 9/11, that's growing up to consider all of this bullshit normal. I remember when we didn't have to do these things, and I'd like for the government to say that our goal is to stop doing things like this, and not to stop when our war on terrorism is over. Because that war is never going to end, and the new normal isn't something we should be willing to accept. Where is the Tea Party to rebel against government control when it comes to the "security" policies of Major League Baseball.

1 comment:

Susan at Stony River said...

Yup. My thoughts and prayers are with the families of the Duck Tour victims (and, what a way to go...).

I recently returned home to the US after living in Europe many years. It was more complicated and difficult for me to enter my own country now, especially considering airport security, than it used to be for me to cross the Iron Curtain as a US citizen back in the 80's, to visit Eastern bloc countries. It wasn't a happy realization. When they sing 'land of the free' these days it brings tears, for the wrong reasons.