A weblog about the politics and affairs of the old
and glorious City of Albany, New York, USA. Articles written and
disseminated from Albany's beautiful and historic South End by Daniel
Van Riper. If you wish to make a response, have anything to add
or would like to make an empty threat, please contact
October 28, 2006
Good And Bad Citizens
The establishment of two-tiered security at Albany International
Airport is a prelude to bad times ahead
Many years ago I made the too-close acquaintance of a couple of
creeps named Gerry and John. These two scumbags had a foolproof routine
for ripping off retail establishments.
No matter how he dressed, John always looked like the filthy bum
that he was. Gerry, on the other hand, was a charmer. He could pass
himself off as respectable to anyone, and that was how he got through
life. (Eventually, people would catch on that he too was a scumbag,
but that’s another story.)
Their routine worked like this. Gerry would put on a suit and tie
and a long raincoat like some fancy executive would wear. He would
walk into the store and present himself to the employees, ask some
small question about the merchandise and put them at ease. A few
moments later John, dressed in a torn t-shirt, sandals and falling
down pants, would saunter insolently through the door drawing as much notice as possible.
Instantly all attention was on John. He would shuffle up and down
the aisles, picking up odd objects from the shelves and putting them
back in the wrong places. Soon he would be practically surrounded
by every employee in the place, from the security guards to the managers.
All eyes were on the badly dressed bum.
Meanwhile, “respectable” and unnoticed, Gerry would
be filling his executive raincoat with merchandise. He told me that
sometimes he would be so loaded with stuff that he could hardly walk
out the door. These two scuzzes told me with pride that they both
supported themselves for over two years with this routine alone.
As far as I know, they never got caught.
I often think of Gerry and John when I watch the “security
checkpoint” at the entrance of Albany City Hall and at the
entrance of the Albany
County Courthouse two doors down. Both of those street scammers would
have instantly recognized and understood these checkpoints for what
they really are.
|A new checkpoint scanner made by QinetiQ peeps
underneath your clothes
Watch the checkpoints for yourself sometime and observe who gets
searched thoroughly and who gets the light treatment... or nothing
at all. White men in expensive suits are often waved right through.
Poor, working class or badly dressed? Expect to empty all of your
pockets and answer a lot of intrusive questions. And be sure to expect
delays if you have a black face.
As Gerry and John surely would have observed, these checkpoints
have nothing to do with weeding out criminals or preventing criminal
acts. After all, the biggest and most dangerous criminals in our
society are the best dressed, the Gerrys. And they have absolutely
nothing to do with that imaginary crock called “terrorism.”
Some time ago I stood in the doorway of the Albany County Courthouse
downtown and watched a long line of people get slowly searched and
questioned by the chronically rude and nasty guards. Suddenly an
unmarked van pulled up in the no parking zone in front of the building.
The driver got out and loaded a hand truck with a stack of maybe
eight feet of boxes.
This fellow hauled the boxes up the steps and stopped behind the
guard’s desk. He had to catch the attention of the guards,
who were concentrating on harassing the hapless people in line. The
guards, startled, apologized sheepishly and moved out of the way.
The guy moved his stack of boxes hastily into the interior of the
I don’t know much about munitions, but I figure he could have
packed enough plastic explosive into those boxes to blast the Courthouse
into the ionosphere. If the point of harassing decent people entering
a public building is to prevent “terrorism,” then the
terrorists are winning big at the Albany County Courthouse.
The purpose of these checkpoints is purely political. The idea is
to physically separate American citizens into two classes, the “good” privileged,
and the “bad” restricted. Into the Gerrys and the Johns.
At Albany International Airport in Colonie this separation is about
to become complete. Travelers who are willing or able to pay a fee
will be “fast-tracked” through the “security” checkpoints.
All they have to do is flash a card and they
will be waived through to their flights with little or no waiting.
Meanwhile, those who won’t or can’t pay the approximately
$100.00 fee will be subject to the usual humiliations and confiscations.
And there is already talk of more expensive “premium service” that
will separate Americans into even more tiers of privilege.
|A terrorist under scrutiny
It gets worse. Supposedly the background “security” checks
will be done by the ponderous government bureaucracy known as the
Transportation Security Administration (TSA) which is part of the
bloated “Homeland” Security.”
But the actual administration of the fast tracking and the issuing
of privilege cards will be done by international corporations. Verified
Identity Pass Inc. and Saflink Corp. are vying for the Albany Airport
contract. The winner gets to decide which citizens fly hassle free
and which ones get discriminated against.
In other words, certain police powers are being “privatized.” These
corporations are being given the power to hinder personal freedom.
This is one step closer to corporations gaining the right to detain
individuals. That is, to arrest.
So, what’s the problem?
The privatization of police powers is an act of desperation by a
government that has no confidence in its ability to govern. Basically,
the government is giving away their most important power, that of
enforcement. The government is awarding its monopoly of violence
to the security corporations.
The corporations are becoming the government. And since corporations
are “private,” they have no incentive to follow rule
of law. They don’t have to answer to the voters. And that leads
inevitably to oppression.
So, you might say, won’t oppression of the “wrong people” take
care of crime? Won’t that make the “right people” feel
The problem with oppression, either public or privatized, is that
those citizens who are oppressed begin to believe that they are not
part of society, that they have been designated enemies by the oppressors.
And indeed, they have been.
In other words, if you violate MY rights, then I have no reason
to respect YOUR rights. If you people in authority, either public
or private, don’t trust me, then there is no way in hell that
I’m going to trust you. If you want respect from me then you
will have to earn it.
Only your guns prevent me from treating you the same way that you
treat me. Your guns and nothing else. See how it works? Next thing
you know, the government is hunkered down behind checkpoints and
barriers, afraid to lower their weapons. Even for a moment.
I can tell you one thing that I know for an absolute certainty.
If the legitimate elected government awards part or all of their
monopoly of violence to the corporations, it is only a matter of
time before the perceived
right to commit violent acts becomes widespread throughout the populace.
Do you want to live in America when
Prior Post *
* * Next Post
This site maintained by Lynne
Jackson of Jackson's