Thursday, March 5, 2009

Maps don't bomb people - people bomb people!

Joel Anderson, a California assemblyman, recently learned that terrorists use services like Google Earth to plan their attacks. Now he wants to pass a law requiring the blurring of all images of possible terrorist attack, including government buildings, hospitals, schools, and churches.*

[A] security expert, Bruce Schneier recently wondered what other things legislators might consider banning to prevent terrorism:

"Bank robbers have long used cars and motorcycles as getaway vehicles, and horses before then. I haven’t seen it talked about yet, but the Mumbai terrorists used boats as well. They also wore boots. They ate lunch at restaurants, drank bottled water and breathed the air. Society survives all of this because the good uses of infrastructure far outweigh the bad uses, even though the good uses are — by and large — small and pedestrian and the bad uses are rare and spectacular."

Of course, this would be a state, not a federal, law. Wait'll those international terrorists learn they have to leave California every time they want to plot an attack. Oooh, they'll be tearing their beards out by the roots!

* Yeah, churches. Not shopping centers or sports arenas or high-rise office buildings, but definitely the churches.


Anonymous said...

I once served on the jury of a man accused of stealing 7 cars. The police had set up a sting operation, and the car thief thought he could weasel out of a guilty verdict by pleading entrapment. Not only did he sell hot cars to the police officers, he sold cocaine as well. The cocaine was packaged in zip-lock bags. One of the counts against him was the use of criminal tools - zip lock bags. Though I, along with the other 11 jurors, found him guilty on that count, I have always felt it was wrong. The reasoning used here is the reasoning I wish I had used on my fellow jurors during that trial. I can only say that I do not feel the man was unjustly punished - even though he got a year for the zip-lock bags as criminal tools - because he admitted to stealing an eighth car while on the witness stand.

Scott Hanley said...

I'm not overly sympathetic toward such obviously guilty people, but I hate to see that sort of practice, too. It just encourages law enforcement to just make up crimes for people they've decided are the bad sort and I'm extremely opposed to police being loosy-goosy with the laws any time they don't like someone; that's not good for our status as a free country and all that. I hear of too many cases where some ego-driven policeman starts hassling a harmless bystander and ends up creating an excuse to charge them with interfering with a police officer's duties, resisting arrest, and a whole pile of imagined crimes.

James Hanley said...

In the 1950s there was a southern congressman who claimed that abstract expressionist paintings were actually secret maps to guide the commies to such potential targets as, I kid you not, Hoover Dam. All the abstract expressionists were commie sympathizers, of course, and their paintings were much easier to acquire and read while traveling than a Rand McNally road map.