… no motion all the rest of the chill November night.

March 4th, 2006  |  Published in old and busted  |  2 Comments

Pay too much and you could raise the alarm:

> They just paid a hefty chunk of their credit card balance. And they learned how frighteningly wide the net of suspicion has been cast. After sending in the check, they checked online to see if their account had been duly credited. They learned that the check had arrived, but the amount available for credit on their account hadn’t changed.

> […]

> They both learned the same astounding piece of information about the little things that can set the threat sensors to beeping and blinking. They were told, as they moved up the managerial ladder at the call center, that the amount they had sent in was much larger than their normal monthly payment. And if the increase hits a certain percentage higher than that normal payment, Homeland Security has to be notified. And the money doesn’t move until the threat alert is lifted.

This is sort of immediately pertinent to me for reasons I’m not going to go into in any detail, except to note that this pisses me off the same way it pisses me off when I’m sitting on my front porch in the evening and a policeman sees fit to shine his cruiser’s spotlight on me as I sit there in plain sight.

The cop and the DHS would argue that they have the same sort of purpose in mind: Just checking to make sure everything’s normal and nothing’s out of the ordinary. But there’s another reason for that sort of behavior that’s less about anything you might be doing and more about making sure you know they’re watching. It’s a conspicuous display of surveillance.

A certain kind of citizen is probably comforted by that kind of behavior, but I’m not. I don’t want to be “reassured” of the state’s capacity to intrude on my privacy or shine a bright light in my eyes at its leisure. That’s not reassuring to me. We don’t want to live in that kind of world.

With apologies for the terrible background, read this. It’s short, it’s been with me since I was nine, and it about sums things up.

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