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Has "Homeland Security" gone to far
I decided to take the Marin to San Francisco ferry on my way home today (an expensive at $16.50 round trip but a good way to see the bay). I saw something that rather disturbed me. As we were pulling away from the Larkspur dock, I noticed a boat coming at us that appeared to be armed. It turned out that it was a coast guard vessel, one of those ones with a hard bottom and inflated sides. It was 15-20 feet long and the ferry deckhand, when I realized after the boat had past that it was indeed armed, said it was a .50 caliber machine gun. I asked if it was always maned and he said yes when they are on patrol.

What are we doing. I have lived my whole life (ok maybe 2-3 years not) near San Francisco Bay. Once some 30-40 years ago a tug operator got caught smuggling ganga in on a barge. I am sure that people operate boats while under the influence of many things. I have no doubt that there is significant smuggling through the port but mostly on large ships.

A .50 caliber machine gun not only mounted but armed and maned on a boat only intended to deal with smaller boats. I truly think that is a bit much.

It reminded me of something that happened earlier this summer. Traveling interstate 10 in the middle of nowhere west Texas we were pulled over. Not us specifically but everyone on the road. There was a shed beside the highway and all traffic, passenger and truck, was forced into it. There was someone with a dog that was checking all cars. I assumed it was a drug sniffing dog so when the handler passed I looked at him wondering if he was ICE or DEA, I could not tell at first. He went past and then came back and on the return trip had the dog stick its nose through the partially opened window, I could tell then that he was ICE. No one else that I saw received this treatment. I just think it was the usual cop thing. You look at me and I may find a way to punish you. He said no words to me. I am familiar with dogs and had no real problem. I would still ask why all of the traffic in nowhere west Texas demands being scrutinized by ICE, we were a long way from El Paso and the multiple crossing points near there.

I think both these things indicate a need by the "people in charge" to intimidate. We have the weapons and the ability to control you. You must be supine as a consequence.

I think I started being concerned about these things when I realized a relationship between The Homeland and The Fatherland.
Bob of QF
Robert Heinlein often complained (through the voice of his fiction) about societies where it is a matter of routine to require some form of official "papers", and that such a society is not worthy of living in.

I dunno: I love the advantages of modern civilization (iPods, teh intertubes, good weather prediction, reliable transportation, electricity, etc).

But I do so deplore that we've become so enmired in the "security at any cost" mentality, that ID is not only a good idea, it's a serious requirement, and failure to comply will get your ass in confinement.

That's bad.

Very bad, I think.

I blame both Rethuglicans and the religious never-right for this.

And I also blame the Demowimps for letting them get away with it...

... meh
Quantum Junction: Use both lanes

Reality is that which is left, after you stop believing.
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