Thanks to all of those who slept through or, worse yet, cheered on, the creation of the surveillance state. I feel safe and secure!
McClellan: Now I have to fear the birds, too
...We didn’t see the owl Sunday morning. Nor the raccoon. We did see some birds. At least I think they were birds.
Perhaps you saw the story in Saturday’s paper that was written by Post-Dispatch reporter Robert Patrick. The headline was “Indictment accuses lawyer in phony marriage scam.” The story was about a married lawyer who allegedly fell in love with a woman from the Ukraine and then allegedly paid a friend to marry her so she could stay in this country.
The woman was not a mail-order bride. She had come here to study. She graduated from the University of Missouri with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical and aerospace engineering.
To a casual reader, it might have seemed like just an ill-fated love story, except for one sentence that Patrick managed to get in for the careful reader. He mentioned that the court records show that the woman was working in Arizona. Then he wrote: “She also has worked on research for the Department of Defense, according to online résumés, specializing in micro-air vehicles: drones the size of birds and insects.”
That is the wonderful thing about a newspaper. Sometimes reading a single sentence is like opening a door into the future.
Drones the size of birds and insects.
We are already being monitored. That probably doesn’t scare you. I remember writing in opposition to the Patriot Act. I was against it because of its name. Had its sponsors called it the Warrantless Wiretapping Act, I might have gone along with it, but the Patriot Act? That had to be dangerous.
Mine was a minority view. Only one senator voted against the Patriot Act — Russ Feingold, D-Wis. He was defeated when he ran for re-election.
The general feeling was, “Why should you care if you’re not doing something wrong?”
I remember when people with mental problems used to come into the newspaper. Somebody is watching me from my television, they used to say. I felt sorry for them. It’s too big a story for me, I used to tell them.
They were prescient. Somebody is watching you from your computer. Advertisers know what you’re looking at. If advertisers know, you think the government is not capable of knowing? Maybe right now, some federal agent is checking to see who is looking for online references to “Reptilian Overlords.”
After all, we know that police monitor Internet chat rooms. They pose as people they’re not. I’ve written about some of those cases. The detectives I’ve written about pose as underage teens, so the only people who get in trouble are people who proposition the “underage teens.” It’s hard to get upset about that, right?
I have moved the bird feeder from the backyard to the side of the house so I can watch the birds from the kitchen table. With the snow covering the ground, the bird feeder was busy Sunday. I poured myself a cup of coffee and gazed at the birds. They seemed oblivious to me, except for one. A small gray-and-white bird seemed to be watching me.
I stood up and the sudden movement spooked the birds. They left the feeder and moved to a branch of a nearby tree. The gray-and-white bird was the last to go. Perhaps I had seen a glimpse of the future.