1997-06-16 - Re: We need more surveillance–a morality play about terrorism

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From: Rich Graves <rcgraves@disposable.com>
To: cypherpunks@cyberpass.net
Message Hash: cd8797f57a024be678d91f7add030c117af756ed3323279d18e6a53c1611b729
Message ID: <33A482AC.3C0E@disposable.com>
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UTC Datetime: 1997-06-16 01:41:40 UTC
Raw Date: Mon, 16 Jun 1997 09:41:40 +0800

Raw message

From: Rich Graves <rcgraves@disposable.com>
Date: Mon, 16 Jun 1997 09:41:40 +0800
To: cypherpunks@cyberpass.net
Subject: Re: We need more surveillance--a morality play about terrorism
Message-ID: <33A482AC.3C0E@disposable.com>
MIME-Version: 1.0
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Tim May <tcmay@got.net> wrote:

> I've been watching an HBO movie, "Path to Paradise," about the
> bombing of the World Trade Center in February 1993. It's quite
> well-done, as most HBO movies of this sort are.

Maybe I'll get a TV one of these days. Nah.

> * "You mean Islamic radicals are free to preach their message of
> hate and violence? Unbelievable!" (This is a paraphrase...there
> were several such opinions expressed, where FBI managers express
> outrage that such things are permitted in the U.S.)

I can't even imagine anyone in the FBI saying anything like that. In
the National Security (tm) establishment and local police forces,
yes, but the FBI is pretty professional, and has heard of the First
Amendment. In this case, though, there was the additional issue of
Rachman being an illegal alien. (I'm not a big fan of border controls
of any kind, but I do consider political hostility to the US to be a
legitimate reason for a state to bar someone from entry and residence.
Bleeding hearts aside, poverty and lack of language and job skills
are also legitimate reasons to bar people at the golden door.)

It's fashionable to romanticize the enemy as big national or
supranational thugs, but in reality the corrupt local cop is the
bigger civil liberties threat to most normal people.

On the "other side":

Look, more people died from car accidents in the last 12 days than
died in the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building, and far fewer
still (or was it nobody?) died in the World Trade Center. By the
numbers, terrorism just doesn't deserve the press coverage it gets.
McVeigh would have done better if he'd started an automobile factory.
It worked for Henry Ford; how many copies of The International Jew
and The Protocols of the Elders of Zion did he print with the money
he made, and how long did respectable antisemitism delay the US entry
into WWII? Food for thought. If you really want to influence people
over the long term, make money, not bombs. William Pierce is on the
wrong track.

> * The niceties of getting wiretap orders were treated as ways to
> coddle criminals.

This does happen, and bugs me (so to speak).

> --Tim May, who's sorry he missed the display of firepower at the
> physical meeting today

One of these days I'll make it to the firing range.

You also missed a revealing story over dinner, which probably meant
something different to me than the storyteller intended, but there
it is.

A guy on the way to the shooting range is pulled over for speeding.
The cop notices the guns, orders him out of the car, and asks where
he's going. He answers, "Let me explain the way I think this country
works. I am going wherever I damn well please." So the cop gives him
a speeding ticket, and he continues on his way.

Now tell me, is this evidence that we're living in a police state?

Of course it probably helped that the guy was white, and probably
driving a "decent" car, and carrying "decent" guns and not some
"Saturday Night Special." But still, I don't see the totalitarianism.

While it wasn't covered in human rights school, I don't think the
FBI should sit idly by and let terrorists sponsored by the government
of Iran blow people up, either. And so they didn't sit idly by. They
waited for probable cause. And lost one. Oops. A few random bombings
seems a reasonable price to pay for all our freedoms, though,
especially since it probably couldn't have been prevented in the
first place.

But by all means, keep the paranoia coming. That's what keeps this
country more or less free. Far better to have frogs hopping wild and
free (as God designed them) than sitting in the pot talking about
how nice and warm the water is. Just don't lose it so badly that you
start endorsing the bombing of the World Trade Center and the Murrah
Federal Building, please.

- -rich

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