Monday, 28 January 2008

Rants

How to secure the homeland


This started out as a quite different post.[1] But then my attention was directed to this:

“There are currently no guidelines regulating the private acquisition of biological, chemical, and radiological detectors,” warned [Richard] Falkenrath [New York City Police Department deputy commissioner for counterterrorism], adding that this law was suggested by officials within the Department of Homeland Security. - Village Voice, “NYPD Seeks an Air Monitor Crackdown for New Yorkers” by Chris Thompson
So let me get this straight: Some useless bureaucrats at the DHS think there should be “guidelines” for private ownership and use of things like geiger counters, all in the name of “avoiding unwarranted anxiety.”  Because without “guidelines,” why, people might go around using them, and what’s more, they might find radiation in some unusual places. (And might get upset about it!) With no government “help.”

Now if the denizens of New York are so stupid that they elect City Council members who are stupid enough to pass an ordinance like this, well, so many more candidates for the Darwin Award. They can face their own consequences.

But the DHS has no business encouraging this. The “mushroom management” concept of keeping citizens ignorant and helpless has no place in a democratic society, no matter how convenient it might be for government agents. Somebody ought to find those unnamed officials and take ’em out back of the outhouse.

After all, it’s hard to be "a pack, not a herd" when the government keeps pulling your teeth.


Naming names: Running point for the proposal, Peter Vallone, Jr., chairman of the Council's Public Safety Committee.


Via: Slashdot
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[1] The story so far: Nannies in the Bloomberg administration and the New York City Police Department want to require a license for any privately-possessed air-quality monitor:
...[Richard Falkenrath, New York City Police Department deputy commissioner for counterterrorism] and Mayor Michael Bloomberg have asked the City Council to pass a law requiring anyone who wants to own such detectors to get a permit from the police first. And it's not just devices to detect weaponized anthrax that they want the power to control, but those that detect everything from industrial pollutants to asbestos in shoddy apartments... - Village Voice, “NYPD Seeks an Air Monitor Crackdown for New Yorkers” by Chris Thompson
All supposedly out of fear of “excessive false alarms and unwarranted anxiety.” None of which have happened. What’s more, Falkenrath is anxious that there is “no requirement that they be reported to the police department—or anyone else, for that matter—and no mechanism for coordinating these devices.” And without all those government guidelines and requirements, well, you never can tell what people might do, can you?

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