Terrorists see USA as gun paradise
Of all the headlines I didn't want to see post-Boston bombing, this one from NPR -- "People On Terrorism Watch List Not Blocked From Buying Guns" -- was very high on my list even if I didn't know it when I woke up (http://n.pr/17ieyh0).
So determined are we to fight terrorism, we will remove our shoes to board a plane, we will lock down a major city to catch bombers and we will not, absolutely not, refuse to sell the monsters guns.
The article quotes from recent al-Qaida videos -- one is embedded on the site for your viewing horror -- that has terrorists practically pooping their pants, they are so excited at the ease with which firearms can be obtained in order to kill U.S. citizens, encouraging terrorists to go to gun shows.
Considering the recent revelation that the Tsarnaev brothers were inspired and educated by online terrorism resources, this isn't a minor issue.
I wonder if all the security you have to go through to, say, tour the Empire State Building or get on an airplane will be enacted at gun shows? I wonder if there will be no-buy lists as well as no-fly lists? Probably not. Security requires sacrifice, and the Second Amendment fanatics have proven over and over again that they aren't willing to go where most everyone else is. Shame on them.
The FBI and the one that got away
This article from Slate (http://slate. me/11ORYrA) takes a look at the last 10 years in terrorism and attempts to find some commonalities in the 52 cases since 2001 in which the U.S. has been a target. It doesn't include the recent Canadian arrests.
What it does find is that those attempting the attacks aren't very skilled at what they purport to do -- cause destruction and terror. In this way, the Tsarnaev brothers certainly fit the profile.
The article links to an Ohio State University paper doing the hard data legwork. It's pretty interesting, detailing each case, including ones you've probably forgotten.
One of the first things I thought of when I heard about the Boston suspects was the recent FBI penchant for setting up would-be terrorists by encouraging them and aiding them until the point that they attempt to blow something up and then arrest them.
In fact, note that the last three instances of terrorism in our country are exactly that. And note the Tsarnaev brothers fit that profile completely. I certainly hope that isn't the outcome.
I'm not a conspiracy theorist, but I do note that the bombers' mother said on Russian television that the FBI had been targeting her older son (http://bit.ly/10zp7xj) though the FBI denies this (http://bit.ly/10zpdF9). It's fairly consistent with actual entrapment cases, but not so much with the Alex Jones inside job stuff, I don't think.
Even so, it's been documented that the FBI did have warnings about the older brother, so you have to wonder why this one was able to slip through the cracks and bomb Boston, even though they had knowledge of him, even as they were busy with their entrapment efforts.
Smile and say cheese for your own safety
The debate about surveillance cameras has started again (http://politi.co/10dcQHm).
I might surprise a few people by saying that, in public spaces, I am not opposed to surveillance cameras at all. Actually, the more precise way of putting it is, I'm not bothered by it.
If you go back 20 years, you'd find a total opponent in me, but a funny thing happened in those two decades and it's called the Internet. There is truly nothing funnier to me at this point than having a debate about privacy on a Facebook thread. Cyber-snooping is a greater threat to our privacy than video of us walking down the street, and yet CISPA -- the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act -- has been approved by the House and is headed for the Senate (http://slate.me/15GUVRU).
But CISPA is only part of the problem. We back-up our information to servers we don't even know the physical location of. We send emails with all sorts of private details that sit in servers owned by Google and Yahoo and Time Warner and dozens of other companies. Despite privacy settings, the things we say on Facebook and anywhere else sit there, waiting, waiting, waiting to be hacked.
Our cellphones can be hacked. Our computers can be hacked. Easily. Our wireless networks can be broken into.
And we just hand all our information to the digital corporations, cozying up on the private sector Big Brother's lap pretty willingly.
And people are worried about video cameras? It's almost cute.
John Seven is the Transcript's arts and entertainment editor. He blogs at blogs.thetranscript.com/arts.