Communion Of Dreams

They should outlaw fire & smoke alarms, too.

Try to wrap your head around this:

NYPD Seeks an Air Monitor Crackdown for New Yorkers

Damn you, Osama bin Laden! Here’s another rotten thing you’ve done to us: After 9/11, untold thousands of New Yorkers bought machines that detect traces of biological, chemical, and radiological weapons. But a lot of these machines didn’t work right, and when they registered false alarms, the police had to spend millions of dollars chasing bad leads and throwing the public into a state of raw panic.

OK, none of that has actually happened. But Richard Falkenrath, the NYPD’s deputy commissioner for counterterrorism, knows that it’s just a matter of time. That’s why he 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. Want to test for pollution in low-income neighborhoods with high rates of childhood asthma? Gotta ask the cops for permission. Why? So you “will not lead to excessive false alarms and unwarranted anxiety,” the first draft of the law states.


“There are currently no guidelines regulating the private acquisition of biological, chemical, and radiological detectors,” warned Falkenrath, adding that this law was suggested by officials within the Department of Homeland Security. “There are no consistent standards for the type of detectors used, no requirement that they be reported to the police department—or anyone else, for that matter—and no mechanism for coordinating these devices. . . . Our mutual goal is to prevent false alarms . . . by making sure we know where these detectors are located, and that they conform to standards of quality and reliability.”

This is insane. This is the perfect example of just how far a government obsessed with control – of people, of information, of knowledge – wants to go. Notice the source of this recommended legislation: Department of Homeland Security. Under the guise of fighting terrorism, they want to make sure that people do not have access to even basic information about their environment. Such legislation would allow bureaucratic control of just about every type of pollution research, would mean that many scientists could not conduct experiments within the city, and would likely criminalize even possession of much lab equipment used in schools.

And using the argument that ‘false alarms’ would cause undue panic and anxiety would also necessitate outlawing every kind of burglar or theft alarm, fire alarms, smoke alarms, et cetera.

This has nothing really to do with fighting terrorism. It is only about control. As the article points out, if this legislation were in place following 9/11, independent environmental testing would not have been allowed which eventually proved that the EPA’s assurances that the environment around Ground Zero was safe were nothing but lies. This is a bald-faced attempt by the government to say: “we will tell you what you need to know.”

Insane. And essentially un-American.

Jim Downey

(Via Cory Doctorow at BoingBoing. Cross posted to UTI.)

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