Monday, December 29, 2003

Nutty Paranoia and Almanacs

News services reported today that the FBI has contacted 18,000 police organizations nationwide to warn them to be alert for people carrying almanacs. The FBI said that "terrorists may use almanacs to assist with target selection and pre-operational planning." Seriously, almanacs. The FBI said that information typically found in almanacs that would be useful for terrorists includes profiles of cities and states and information about waterways, bridges, dams, reservoirs, tunnels, buildings and landmarks.

Said John Pierce, publisher of The Old Farmers Almanac, "While we doubt that our editorial content would be of particular interest to people who would wish to do us harm, we will certainly cooperate to the fullest with the national authorities."

Here's my concern......they forgot encyclopedias. Also, reference websites. In fact, the whole internet. And what about National Geographic magazines and books? For Christmas, my 12 year old budding engineer received a fabulous National Geographic book about marvels of engineering. It has lots of lavish photos and details about bridges, buildings, pipelines, skyscrapers...even the Great Wall of China. I guess we need to throw that subversive book out before she decides to blow up a building after reading about its construction. I should also toss her World Almanac for Kids. I mean, what will the neighbors think? What if a police officer sees her with it?

Hmmmm...maybe we should ban pesky public information altogether. People just can't be trusted. And we can then somehow find a way to ban curiosity. If it weren't for curiosity, we probably wouldn't need info at all.


When will the US government's current nutty thinking-in-a-vacuum paranoia end? Soon, I pray, because it now threatens the very principles that our great country was founded on: individual freedom and personal liberty for all.

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