So, we’ve watched the troubles grow daily in America, as those who worry about their own security react to the ever-increasing understanding of the scope the NSA’s intel program has become known. Now, maybe you thought that was unusual, that the NSA would be gathering intelligence, but that’s what they do. It’s their reason for existence. Remember how upset we weren’t — but how upset our allies were — when they came to understand they were being spied upon? As if they knew it wasn’t happening. Of course, “Gentlemen do not read each other’s mail.” To which I’ll only add that gentlemen do not Tell The World that they read each other’s mail. Of course we spy on our allies. That’s how we KNOW they’re still our allies. “Gosh, it just never occurred to us” is not what I want to hear from my security team, how about you? I want them to know everything important Before It Happens. The way you do that is to know everything. Period.
Now then. From my experience, there is always going to be a disconnect between what we say and what we do, and in a democratic republic that’s hard to accept when it comes from your government. On a personal level, I expect you to be honest with me and I imagine you have similar expectations about me. When we trust each other, things work out well. When someone says one thing and does another, things go downhill quickly, don’t they? And that’s almost what we’re reading about these days. It’s more troublesome than that. We’ve been horns-waggled into believing that we could trust our government. You can’t do that. You elect them, but you don’t trust them without verification. How do you verify what they hide from you? (for your own good, of course) “You can’t handle the truth!”
Oh, I don’t know. Try me.
Should our soldiers be armed?
Where? They already are armed in combat situations, but are not generally armed in headquarters locations. Arms are kept safely in the Unit Arms Room, a secured area designed for that purpose.
We might have to revisit that, in light of recent events where, as Pogo said, “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”
Arguing that our soldiers should always be carrying their weapons does not address the problem, but it does give some light to the problem — how is it that the armed defenders of freedom are as vulnerable to the whim of some deranged character as those of us innocents walking along the city streets? Shouldn’t they be able to protect themselves, if we call on them to protect us? But knowing how to “kill people and break things” does not a good tactical defender make.
I’ll have more to offer later. Developing, as they say. In the meantime, take a look at this from the WaPo.
Cool little cartoon from xkcd reflects a larger problem of pervasive ignorance and apathy regarding computer security. When we asked several netizens their thoughts, the most common answer was “I don’t know, and I don’t care.”
We found that heightened responses after September 11 dissipated and reached a plateau at various points in time over a five-year period.
The folks over at USC’s CREATE site have released a fascinating report about the way we respond to catastrophe in general by documenting the responses to the 9/11 terrorist attack on the United States.
It’s a twenty-page report in pdf. Report
I’m curious; what did you do afterward? I joined a CERT group in my county, and trained over 200 radio operators in the skills required for effective communications under trying circumstances. And, as far as I know, the sponsors of both these programs have seen a leveling off of interest over time. As humans, that’s they way we are–until the next time.