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July 9, 2004 — 9 AM

From the Department of Homeland Senility

The story of Ian Spiers is a chilling one, yet I imagine all too common in today’s milieu of panic and paranoia.

Mr. Spiers is a resident of Ballard, Wash., near Seattle, who was harassed by Seattle Police and agents of the Department of Homeland Security for taking photos of the Ballard Locks, a common tourist landmark. These days, photography is apparently a mark of conspiratorial terrorist intentions — at least if your skin is brown as Mr. Spiers’s is.

It’s easy to roll your eyes and shrug helplessly over such incidents, but to read the story from the victim’s perspective, in detail, you really get a sense of the inanity of the peremptory method of law enforcement which is so prevalent right now, especially in the United States.

Just read this story and then look at the words law enforcement. Are we really enforcing law? Or are we overzealously trying to prevent crime from happening in the first place, a concept that all but guarantees the suppression of individual rights.

(Link courtesy of Patrick)


I’m not suprised by what happened to Ian Spiers. He was probably “denounced” by a fellow citizen to the police. There’s a real culture of fear in the US, where people think they might be attacked anywhere, even in Licoln, Nebraska! To get a sense of this broadcast paranoia, check out the Department of Homeland Security website www.ready.gov. The “Public Service Announcements” are of particular interest.

Francis H | Jul. 12, 2004 — 12 AM

Previously: Don’t Rock the Boat

Subsequently: Rock You Like a Kaypro

July 2004
the Archives