Monday, March 24, 2008

Big Brother is Watching in More Ways Than You Can Imagine

Yesterday a story broke in the Seattle Times that once again reminds us that Big Brother is watching.

Because the feds are concerned about dirty bombs and nuclear materials being smuggled into the USA, they have developed a new device that is extremely sensitive to radiation. This device can be aimed at passing cars and, if it goes off, the feds can pull over the car and investigate further.

Recently this device came to light when a car was pulled over which contained a cat with cancer. The cat had undergone radiological treatment three days earlier.

The car had been going 70 miles an hour.

I am a big opponent of the Patriot Act and the constitutional rights that it violates. And yet, I am having a hard time getting worked up about this new type of detection. Perhaps this is because I can see no reason why an average citizen would be riding about with nuclear materials.

Although there are people who could also set off this detector, I suspect it would be the minority. I don't want a minority's rights violated in any way. However, as long as the feds let these citizens go after its been determined that they don't have bomb-making materials, I can see little harm done.

And yet, someone undergoing radiation therapy might also be smoking pot to alleviate their symptoms. What if the feds find marijuana in the car? Will that person go to jail simply because a radiation detector went off?

Don't get me wrong - I hate illegal drugs with a passion. But at the same time, it makes me queasy to see how many different ways the government can find to worm themselves into our homes and our lives.

I don't believe in the adage that you give up some freedoms for safety. On the other hand, we are living in a country that is increasingly having to ask where we draw the line.

Perhaps we would all rest more comfortably if the government would share what their procedures are each time they pull over a car that is registering a level of radiation.

Perhaps we would rest even more comfortably if we knew what else they were using to spy on us.

Or... perhaps we wouldn't rest at all.


Groovy Mom said...

Yes, I also feel uncomfortable with giving over more and more of our freedoms in the name of safety. On the other hand, if someone is plotting to kill as many people in this country as they can, I'd like them to be caught before they can carry out their plans. Hard to know where to draw the line, indeed.

The Lazy Iguana said...

Its not just cats with cancer that will set that thing off. So will dogs with cancer. Or people with cancer. Or people who have taken a "stress test". Or people who have had an MRI. Or people who have taken radioactive iodine for any number of medical reasons.

Or people who may have a smoke detector or two or three in the car. Or people transporting medical equipment.

And so on.

If my cat has cancer clearly it can not smoke pot. But pot may help the cat be more comfortable. So could I light up the pot and blow the smoke at the cat?? Or hot box the cat by placing it in a container and then filling that container with smoke?

M@ said...

I would hope prosecutors would exercise terrific discretion in not pursuing drug charges against terminal cancer patients in possession of marijuana when invoking homeland security.

I would hope that the vast majority of federal prosecutors would have much better sense.

daveawayfromhome said...

I wouldnt bet on that, especially not with such a large Republican influence in the courts and the Justice Department.

I think there's a certain level of risk inherent in any system of government. My question would be this: do you want that risk to come from individuals abusing too much liberty, or from your government abusing too little?

Ed Abbey said...

I think Benjamin Franklin said it best with, "Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

Anonymous said...

Well the really scary parts about the whole radiation detection systems are the ones that are not public, if only you knew the risk our country faces. As I happen to work on this project I know a whole lot more than most people. Generally the radiation detection is not pointed at private citizens but actually at the semi's that fill our interstates. I think this article was over-reactive to what is actually going on. Also the actual government entity that runs this program does not do spot checks like that, they actually analyze the radiation reading before taking action. The detectors are not like radar guns the officials just hang out using.


Marguerita said...

What is happening? American sooner or later will not be called "The Land Of The Free. America will soon be called "The Land Of The Spied."

No longer can I feel safe talking on my phone or sending an e-mail because one day I might say the wrong thing and the next thing I know I have feds at my door.

"Land OF The Free," I think America can retire that slogan and create a new one.


Bryan said...

And that's just the tip of the iceberg, Saur. Ever hear of Lockheed Martin's "Total Domain Awareness"?

Check it out:

And here's a site with a treasure trove of information on Big Brother:

And I am proud to say that I am affiliated with OK-Safe. They're a great group of patriotic Americans.