Thursday, February 11, 2010

Paintball Justice

I'm drawing my line in the sand right here. I heard just now about how in Iran when the people come out to protest, the police are shooting them with paintguns - marking them to be dealt with later. How diabolically clever is that?

This is even better than smartbombs. Better than teargas by far. Better than surveillance cameras, against which people can wear disguises. No one is hurt, and it might almost be confused with fun if it were done in this country. Hell in 1984, the fictional version, they didn't even have to bother with real wars, when the pretend ones could have the same effect.

We all already knew that anonymity is impossible anymore, no matter what we used to think about how a dog can be a dog on the Internet. But if our government condones this as a crowd control method, then we're fucked, and I use that term advisedly. Or unadvisedly, so take your choice.

We already know that they can make us standout by searching our phone calls and emails for particular words or patterns of speech. But we also know that speech doesn't prove anything.

We know that they might selectively arrest people according to their background checks, putting away activists for twittering crowd avoidance methods, say, but we hope they won't shut off twitter the way they did in Iran.

Put all these things together, though, and now you've got real problems with civil liberties. And it could be the teaparty activists as readily as the antiwar activists (if there were any anymore, or is that just a media preference? Or a venue preference - try imagining anti-war protesters at Opryland.). But one hopes that if the police in this country were to be ordered to shoot with paintguns, there would be a suit and they would lose. But who can tell with this supreme court?

And you do have to wonder what's the difference between picking, based on speech, who to follow at the protests, and picking them out in your paintball sights. The intimidation factor is about identical.

So, why, exactly, aren't the teabaggers concerned? And why is everyone else staying home?

I guess the teabaggers are the ones feeling screwed while the rest of us, frogs in a slowly heating pot, are rationalizing away all the little things. Or maybe it's a media spotlight thing. Or maybe they've already made it clear how outraged they would be, and so shooting them with paintballs would just prove their point. That they're the victims and everyone in the government is out to get them. I guess they might want to be shot with paintballs. Do you?

Maybe they're just more used to guns. Oh hell, I don't know, maybe they're just too stupid to think about civil liberties, but I do know that if we assume that and act like we think they're stupid, then they've won because, well, that's what they were complaining about in the first place.

Something to think about . . .

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