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Sniping bloggers can keep America safe from terrorists and cats!
'Snogging' militia is crucial
And ninethly When modern imperial ideologies have dehumanized you and modern enterprises have exploited your labor, post colonial situations become occasions to assert your sense of self and culture, even when doing so appears backward to those who have been riding your back - Cornel West
Recent events have left me questioning our commitment to two crucial aspects dominating contemporary American life. Are we exploiting technology in the most expedient and practical manner possible? Are we doing all that we can to protect ourselves?
Ever since those horrendous attacks occurred in New York and Washington D.C., a group of red-blooded Americans have salivated over the prospect of using technology to protect us. Most distressingly, their intentions have wavered from the purity of the Red State ideology and turned into the Red of Bolshevik accusation and moral imprisonment. Great, soaring eagles such as former Attorney General John Ashcroft have tainted their legacies with the Patriot Act, questionable search and seizures and over-zealous airport security personnel.
Any Republican worth his NRA membership knows of what I speak. Our brothers have turned upon us. Instead of protecting us with technology, they use the information superhighway to remove our liberties. Is this Russia? This isn't Russia. But it feels like it.
While such realizations have left me listless and leaning towards self-flagellation for the past couple of years, I have managed this week to revive my spirit. And I have the internet to thank for the awakening.
The internet - in a miracle of synchronicity - brought me two stories of salvation on the same day.
Some of you will recall this tale of a Chinese man camped outside of the Capitol. Dressed in sinister black garb, the man stood motionless for a long period of time - his two sinister black suitcases equally motionless beside him. After many failed attempts at communication, police were forced to drag this "tourist" away and then blow up his luggage. I strongly recommend that you watch the video of this man's capture either via the link above or a second link here. Watching the show is essential to the task at hand.
The other item that caught my attention came from the great, beer-soaked state of Wisconsin, which has encouraged a debate on hunting some of the 2 million feral cats scurrying between its borders.
Duller minds would miss the connection - or rather the opportunity - that links these stories.
On one hand, we have an aggressive "tourist" skulking around the Capitol with a suitcase full of bomb-like equipment such as clocks and CD players. Our police force isn't notified about this skulker for hours. That's many minutes of this potential human dirty-bomb ogling our nation's solar plexus with total inaction from law enforcement. It's impossible for America's finest to see all and be everywhere at all times.
On the other hand, we have millions of cats. Not the cute cuddlies. Feral ones. With mange, eating disorders, squelched meows and things of that nature.
This all leads to the obvious question - shouldn't we train an online citizens militia?
Shouldn't this citizens militia be linked in to thousands upon thousands of web cameras? Shouldn't these cameras be zeroed in on our most precious sites? Shouldn't members of this militia be able to fire weapons from the comfort and safety of their own home in order to protect us all at internet speed? And shouldn't this militia perfect its craft by hunting Wisconsin cats via the web?
Be you left wing, right wing or ding-a-ling, I can accept no answer but "Yes!" for any of these questions.
(Many will ridicule this as superstition or maybe just the end result of a half-dozen Wild Turkey jiggers, but the night after I read these two stories, Apple's CEO Steve Jobs came to me in a dream and said just one word - iMancipation. Let's all rally around that.)
The obvious solution to an over-worked, under-paid police force is a proficient, world-class virtual terrorist hunting machine. I'm talking about a tightly woven group of citizens united by web cams, blogs, pod casts and instant messages. Each person in the army pointing to possible suspects. Citizen soldiers evaluating the threat levels of a suspect together in real-time. And, when a government authorized go level is reached, the alpha blogger - he who first spotted the suspect - hits "Enter." Problem solved.
With such a refined system in place, our Chinese friend, and millions like him, will pray to God they had stayed in the less observant, sloth-like domiciles of inaction from whence they came.
Many of you will have concerns that any Yahoo! could get behind his laptop and start blasting away. Not true. This system would require the same incredibly strict weapons safety and training courses needed today in states such as Texas to carry a concealed weapon. Background checks? Yep. Waiting periods? Sure.
In addition, I will accept that there should be a trial period for this program. A social-network of online miltiamen will be set up and only those that receive the highest popularity ratings will be let onto the initial iFiring Range. We'll also start with tasers or some kind of stun guns instead of live ammunition.
For those worried that detractors will say no precedent has been set for this type of action - have NO FEAR. Earlier this month, Florida governor Jeb Bush and legislators pushed through a new law, making it perfectly legal to shoot first and ask questions later when someone fears they are under attack. Citizens must retreat first no longer!
"It's a good, common-sense, anti-crime issue," Bush said.
The question that has eluded us all in recent years is why do we need Uncle Sam to protect us when the internet makes self-preservation a viable reality. Let's ensure our own freedom! Let's get sniper blogging or, of course, Snogging! ®
Otto Z. Stern is a director at The Institute of Technological Values - a think tank dedicated to a more moral digital age. He has closely monitored the IT industry's intersection with America's role as a world leader for thirty years. You can find Stern locked and loaded at his solar-powered compound somewhere in the Great American Southwest.