Archive for November, 2007

The Death Penalty for Parking Tickets – and for Pre-Crime

Steve Martin used to joke about giving “the death penalty for parking tickets” but with stories of the overuse of Tasers and the unintended consequences – i.e. death – abound this may no longer be a joke.

You need look no further than the “Don’t Tase me Bro’” guy to see that over-eager police may be over-using these handy devices.

And now stories of people being killed by Tasers for relatively minor offenses are starting to surface with some regularity – some 200 deaths since 2002 according to this ZDNet article.   One has to wonder if there were 200 accidental police shooting deaths for minor offences if the public would notice that either (incidentally, accidental police shooting deaths are not even tracked nationally in the US).

It just seems a little creepy to me that these new technologies could be turned loose on a citizenry without some strict protocols on how they should be used as well as strict monitoring of how they are in fact used in the field.

No doubt we will be seeing more of these devices – not less – until we have a perfected some Minority Report-like Halo device to throw on any government suspected “pre-criminals.”   So perhaps we had better decide – and quickly – what amount of newly-enslaving technology is allowed to be unleashed on an unwitting population.

At Least He Made the Planes Run on Time

El StupidoTaking yet another page out of Mussolini’s play book, President Bush is hoping to encourage and then to take credit for making the planes run on time

Although El Stupido’s (Bush’s) and El Duce’s mode of transportation differs, the general method remains the same: 1) Distract the populace from the real issues of the day 2) Do something empty and meaningless in regard to this distraction and then 3) Take credit for something you have absolutely no control over.

Interestingly enough, you can add the tale of Mussolini’s Making the Trains Run on Time to the scrapheap of historical urban legends because he too had absolutely nothing to do with this (although like any good politician he did take credit for).  In 70 years, after much of today’s Fatherland of Homeland Security and other claims have been sifted through the filters of history and reality, most of today’s claims will no doubt similarly end up on an Urban Legend Debunking Site.  For instance, the claim that we ever got actionable intelligence from this guy…

Waterboarding