Our way of life is transforming as the days and weeks pass.
Not so long ago traveling by air was not only easy, but enjoyable. It was actually a treat to arrive at the airport; people were there to make your trip pleasurable, from helping you at the gate to making sure that you were comfortable on the plane. The flight attendants, “stewardesses’” back then, treated you like they appreciated your business.
Once in the air, the beverage of choice was offered. You could even get a deck of playing cards to help you pass the time, no charge. Food was offered on most flights and it was of a quality that was palatable and in some cases “if you flew first class” compared with some fine restaurants.
On longer flights you were provided a small kit with a toothbrush, toothpaste, and some even included a small razor and mirror. There might also be one of those mask that you put over your eyes so you could block the light out and snooze through the flight. Traveling by air used to be pleasurable.
In stark contrast today one must arrive at the airport two hours earlier than the flight. Once there, you get the distinct impression that you are being looked at as a possible suspect for a crime that has not been committed yet. You are cautioned about making jokes to the TSA as they could arrest you or at the very least detain you simply because they wanted to. You are stripped of your shoes, belt, jacket and anything in your pockets and then subjected to a virtual strip search where anonymous people in some room examine your naked body, looking for anything that is suspicious. During this process these folks without a sense of humor order you around like you are indeed a prisoner in some sort of exercise yard, which happens to be a terminal.
Never mind the fact that you are being exposed to ionizing radiation, the government(s) have decided that the laws of physics have magically changed and now this radiation is safe, compared to how unsafe it was just a few years ago. They compare it to the radiation that one is exposed to at high altitude and how in comparison it is not that much. They are also talking apples and oranges as cosmic radiation is different from ionizing radiation but, they don’t offer that up as that does not fit their agenda. Keep in mind that the “truth has no agenda.” I would look for frequent flyers to have a higher rate of skin cancer in the future. If I were a frequent flyer, or flight attendant or pilot, I would make having a good dermatologist a priority, as well as keeping my yearly visits.
I am reminded of the board of directors from the different tobacco companies sitting before congress telling them that tobacco products and all of their additives were totally safe and did not cause cancer. People will say anything when it fits their agenda.
Your baggage and clothes are not safe either. When I travel, I take the clothes that I am going to wear to the cleaners and have them cleaned and folded so when I arrive at my destination, I have clothes that have some modicum of professionalism; in that they are not wrinkled beyond belief. On my last trip my bag was opened by the TSA and my folded laundry packaged in plastic see through bags (much like it would look straight from the store) was opened, disheveled and crammed back into my bag, like I have done when returning home, simply getting the soiled laundry back into the bag to once again make its way to the cleaners. I think that I will start just packing my soiled laundry, cramming it into the bag and once at my location, send it off to be cleaned.
Traveling by air is just one place where it resembles more of a police state than it should. Any form of public transportation is scrutinized by different means of security.
In most of my travels I can not help but notice cameras at every intersection. I may have read 1984 one too many times but, it certainly bears paying attention to the facts that these are probably not for traffic control. In major cities all around this country at least, and I suspect others, there are cameras watching everything. I would argue that your privacy is being invaded in ways that you don’t know about.
The local police have devices that can detect heat signatures (FLIR) in total darkness. I have been told that these can detect the presence of heat through a wall. I would suspect that the local police are not really interested if you are home or where you might be but, my guess would be that via flyover or random screening in the debt of night, they could be looking to see if you are growing things inside your home that you ought not to be. To my way of looking at this, it is an invasion of your privacy and should not be allowed without a warrant.
Technology is outpacing our humanity. Today we have a 29 year old, holding the keys to nukes in a xenophobic country; threatening the stability of an entire globe. We have companies like Raytheon and others manufacturing drones that have been used successfully in the war effort, now in the hands of a government that seeks to “fundamentally transform our country.” They now think that it should be legal to fly these drones over the US. These drones have the ability to peer in open windows miles away and see what is going on, to tracking your cell phone and who knows what else that it can do. I do know that it can tell what clothes you are wearing (or not wearing) while flying at 17,500 feet. By the way unless you happen to see it flying over head, it is silent enough that at altitude you will not know it is there. I know this because while floating in the pool, looking up, I saw one flying overhead. There was no sound.
Today most of us carry smart phones. I have no doubt that they can be controlled by third party entities, at their discretion, switching on microphones and or cameras at will. We have seen this in laptops sent home with school children, do you really think that you have any expectation to privacy in your home? With built in GPS, they know down to a few feet, exactly where that phone is.
One really has to wonder why we are giving so many free phones to people that cannot afford them. Is it really to “give them a shot” or is it a way to get inside Intel into their lives and activities.
While this sounds like 1984 and the work of science fiction, I would not be surprised to learn at all that this is not fiction at all.
This much power in the hands of any government is simply dangerous at best and could be disastrous. Please remember that absolute power corrupts absolutely! The new facility that the government is building 25 miles south of Salt Lake City may very well be the control center for these types of activities and not the data retention facility that it is touted to be. It may very well be a data retention center too, but my gut tells me that it is much more than that. It would take a facility that large to house the amount of people necessary to accomplish the surveillance of that many “people of interest.” Those people may very well include anyone that attends church, or works for a particular company, or possibly those who are on the government dole.
History is rife with abuses of this government, as well as others. J Edgar Hoover was notorious for abusing his power. We as a people have forgotten history or failed to learn from it. History is cyclical when you fail to learn from it. “We will repeat it.”
With the creation of the patriot act under George W., we Americans gave up rights that we may never get back. With this recent explosion in Boston, we may see new laws created, taking away even more of our rights to “protect us.” (Remember, “Never let a disaster go to waste”) The random acts of violence “terrorist activity” are one way to get people to not only submit to further oppressive measures by a government but, they may very well cause some to insist upon it.
With our borders unsecured, we have no control over whom and what comes into our country or for that matter what or who leaves our country. The government should be focusing on that rather than chipping away at our rights as Americans. We as a people should be demanding that our borders be secured instead of worrying about the feelings of potential voters. To politicize immigration is simply treasonous and all who do this should be fired. Protection of this country, its people and its constitution should be their primary goal, and anything else should not come before this.
Full disclosure; I am a writer of science fiction. I think outside the box; which is great if you are a writer. I would also offer that through history, most science fiction becomes science fact. I have no inside informants or sources of info other than what can be observed by looking, or researching topics of interest on the WWW…
-Best to you and those that you care about.