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In this era of Homeland Security, when using the wrong word in an e-mail can get you picked up by a "sniffer," when checking out the wrong book at the library can get you investigated, How in hell can you buy six thousand rounds of ammunition and not get noticed?

It's no secret that we have given up too many of our freedoms and too much of our privacy in the so-called war on terror (Have I been picked up by a "sniffer" for using these words? Will I be investigated?)

Way too many of our phone records are being turned over, way too many of our e-mails are being monitored.

Yet you would think that the most obvious thing that would be monitored in looking for terrorists would be sales of weapons and sales of ammunition.

How can someone buy six thousand rounds of ammuntion and not get noticed?

Apparently they're too busy monitoring our DailyKos comments to bother.

This is kind of scary.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I think people buy more gun stuff than you think (2+ / 0-)

    If this was the new criteria for being investigated, America would be filled with terrorists I bet. I doubt we'd have the manpower to even come close to monitoring it.

    I agree, it's f'd up that people buy so much of this creepy shit, but that's America.

  •  or maybe, just maybe... (15+ / 0-)

    ... Homeland Security isn't watching all of the people even some of the time, but we tend to internalize every story about who they are watching, to put ourselves in the picture.

    We conflate that stuff with the pervasive private-sector surveillance, such as the thing that spams our inbox with "contextual" ads three seconds after we send off an email with keywords in it.  We feel that we're being watched, and we mistakenly attribute it to government when in fact it's all about the private sector and our willing participation.  

    I always find myself amazed at how many of my friends have addresses on Gmail, and how many people here have ditched their landlines for "smartphones" that are basically tracking devices, and how many have Facebook pages, and all of that stuff.

    If you want to unhook from the pervasive surveillance, just don't have any of that stuff, keep your browser set to high-privacy mode (and don't use Google Chrome!), minimize your use of credit/debit cards, etc. etc., and you'll be surprised at the results.

    Meanwhile, Homeland Security is stretched to the limits of their budget and really does not have the all-encompassing capacity to watch everything.  

    As for the shooter accumulating 6,000 rounds of ammo, everything after the first hundred or so rounds was redundant, and he could easily have accumulated it slowly enough as to not raise any eyebrows.  Just as you can go into each of a few stores on Main Street and slowly accumulate enough of X and Y and Z that when mixed together add up to a high explosive that will knock down a building or take an airliner out of the sky.

    Short of doing away with cash transactions and creating a pervasive security state that would have us longing for the days when airport nudie-scopes were the most intrusive thing any of us faced, there is no way to stop a determined sociopath from setting himself up with the means of mass murder.  And even if you could magically make all the guns and ammo disappear overnight, there would be plenty of other ways, such as the explosives that the shooter also had in large enough quantity that the police had to evacuate not only his own apartment building but the five neighboring buildings as well.  

    Ultimately the answer to the Batman shooter is to change the culture.  No amount of surveillance and control can substitute for that.  

    And ultimately the answer to pervasive surveillance is for people to stop buying in, stop reaching for "shiny things," stop delivering themselves up to it in exchange for some trivial convenience or another.  

    It's up to us, and no one else is going to do it for us.

    "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

    by G2geek on Sat Jul 21, 2012 at 12:41:52 AM PDT

    •  Before the concept of "broken windows" it was (7+ / 0-)

      common wisdom that there was little you could do to combat crime without "changing the culture."

      The miracle that is the drastic reduction of crime and violence in large cities like New York and Los Angeles is testament to the fact that this was not necessarily true.

      Though I guess you could argue that fixing the "broken windows" did change the culture.

      As another diarist has pointed out, they monitor the sales of sudafed in this country (you have to register to buy it). So they sure as hell could require photo ID to purchase ammunition and monitor the sales.

      Would it prevent a mass killer? Maybe not. But then again, who would have thought that fixing broken windows and crumbling sidewalks and going after "squeegee" window washers would have had such a dramatic effect on violent crime in New York (And yes I know that other effective measures were taken as well.)

      The point is that to change the culture, you have to start somewhere. And even the littlest changes may have surprising effects.

      •  Not sure about broken windows (4+ / 0-)

        Here's a bit of info, with criticism, just from wikipedia:

        In theory, it would seem like a good idea to keep the windows from being broken, but a too-heavy hand like that of Giuliani (neighborhood sweeps) or Bloomberg (stop and frisk) sends more of a message of mass oppression than of respect, which (I would think) would be a necessary element for a community's solidarity and common interests.

        Just saying.

      •  Was it the broken windows or a culture change? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Two factors in the studies I have read: inner city kids grew up and, believe it or not, economic conditions improved.

        But it is nice not to have broken windows.

      •  OK, here are your broken windows: (0+ / 0-)

        Hate-spew radio.
        Violent TV dramas.
        Violent movies.
        Violent video games.

        You want to fix the broken windows, take anything R-rated out of the theatres and off the air.  Give it about five years to take effect and another five years for the results to become statistically significant enough that there is no question of causality.  

        It's all about the culture of violence.

        Every able-bodied male in Switzerland has a military rifle and a box of military ammo on his closet: and yet, zero psycho-killers.

        The fact that it's illegal to break the seal on the box of military ammo will not deter a psycho-killer.   But when's the last time yo heard of one in Switzerland?

        "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

        by G2geek on Sat Jul 21, 2012 at 10:52:31 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  when do we ever hear about anything that happens (0+ / 0-)

          outside the US, unless American citizens are somehow involved???

          Swiss on Swiss, Swiss on Italian or French or German or Austrian... crickets from US media!

          so just because we haven't heard about Swiss psycho-killer rampage(s), doesn't mean they haven't happened...

          "real" work : a job where you wash your hands BEFORE you use the bathroom...

          by chimene on Sat Jul 21, 2012 at 04:33:52 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I'll be posting about this on Saturday... (3+ / 0-)

    ...had written a first draft (covering much of what you've written about here, and then some...), and then came online and saw your diary. I'll make certain to give you a mention in my post, too.

    "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

    by bobswern on Sat Jul 21, 2012 at 02:48:42 AM PDT

    •  Thanks. I look forward to reading your diary. I (4+ / 0-)

      think it's a very big deal that in this post 9/11 world a single person can assemble such a huge arsenal in such a short time and escape notice.


    •  But but but Homeland Security is on the way Bob! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Williston Barrett, bobswern


      This gem from 'Government Security News' sponsored by General Dynamics C4 Systems.

      DHS offers investigative support in movie theater rampage
      Senior FBI officials in Washington have told the media that based on the early snapshot of Holmes’ background the attack doesn’t appear to be linked to radical terrorism or anything related to Islamic terrorism.

      Nevertheless, DHS said it would provide assistance, if needed, as the investigation unfolds. “I am deeply saddened by the terrible shooting in Aurora, Colorado. Federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies continue to respond to this horrific event and I have directed the Department of Homeland Security to provide any support necessary in the ongoing investigation,” said Napolitano in a statement on the morning of July 20. “We are committed to bringing those responsible to justice. Our hearts and prayers go out to anyone impacted by this tragedy, especially the family and friends of those killed or injured.”

      And they  are also pretty busy helping out Mexico:
      Homeland Security takes boy with big tumor from dangerous Mexican city to NM for treatment
      ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A 9-year-old boy with a massive tumor was whisked from a dangerous neighborhood in Mexico in an armored vehicle by U.S. agents and taken across the border for treatment in New Mexico, his family said.

      The boy and his parents were snatched Thursday from the gang-infested neighborhood in Ciudad Juarez — one of the deadliest cities in the world — after members of a New Mexico Baptist church saw him near an orphanage and sought help.

      Denise Gutierrez, a victim assistance coordinator for Homeland Security Investigations, said she felt compelled to help as soon as she saw photos of Jose.

      “I refused to believe that there was nothing we could do for this boy,” she said.

      Gutierrez said the boy and his parents were granted a 45-day humanitarian visa for treatment in New Mexico, and a coalition of U.S. agencies led by Homeland Security Investigations began working to get them into the United States.

      The U.S. Border Patrol helped the family enter the country.

      Look forward to your post Sunday.

      How did Supreme Court decision ACA help the 23 million still uncovered? Ask the 18,000 Doctors of PNHP -- they're not waiting, FORWARD now to pass H.R. 676, the “Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act .

      by divineorder on Sat Jul 21, 2012 at 05:26:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  So many asked (12+ / 0-)

    the same thing when DC/MD/VA/WVA/Ohio/IND experienced widespread power outages due to damage by a line of storms that snapped trees 4' in diameter like toothpicks.

    I work for a company in Indianapolis, emergency power providers. They mobilized Friday afternoon.

    Ohio mobilized Friday before dinner.

    In DC, it was all: "We had no warning, no way to see this coming so we didn't make the call to bring in utility crews".  

    What a pant load of crap!! They had 7 hours warning and the result was starting Friday night/Saturday morning millions were without power for a week.

    Billions for Homeland Security, the Bush Boondoggle of this century, and they "couldn't predict" a storm that marched across the country knocking out power state after state on its way to the East coast.

    I'm not the least bit surprised they were completely unaware of a nut in Colorado amassing an arsenal.  

    "Security" is an illusion designed to keep the population thinking their government cares. Ask anyone at TSA.

    Tommy Lee Jones, in Men in Black:

    "The only reason these people can get on with their lives is because THEY DO NOT KNOW"

    We've been spelling it wrong all these years. It's actually: PRO-GOP-ANDA

    by Patriot4peace on Sat Jul 21, 2012 at 03:07:52 AM PDT

    •  Homeland Security ought to be (13+ / 0-)

      dismantled. It was a consolidation that shouldn't have been done.  It reduced redundancy, which is exactly what is needed to counter natural and man-made emergencies.  The reason power outages are so sever and so long-lasting is because redundancy and back-up systems have been allowed to deteriorate to "save" on maintenance and upgrades to satisfy profit expectations.

      Random acts of violence and destruction cannot be predicted or stopped.  The only thing possible is to mitigate the damage. The latter requires preparation and preparation requires the ability to think ahead. Putting people who can't think ahead and only respond in charge of preparation is a recipe for disaster.

      "Be prepared," is a good slogan.  A hope and a prayer don't make it happen.  "Faith-based" government needs to be rejected out of hand. Good intentions are no substitute for preparation. Neither is obedience training.

      Willard's forte = "catch 'n' cage"

      by hannah on Sat Jul 21, 2012 at 03:28:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Be prepared IS a good slogan. I used it at church (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Williston Barrett, MA Mom

        when the chicken littles were afraid that Y2K was armageddon.
        Want to do something about it?, I asked. Go figure out how may gallons of water your family uses and where you would get it after a week without power. If you're gonna pray "Come, Lord Jesus, Come" and really believe it, you'd better step out in faith to the hardware store and get some more batteries, eh?
        They listened politely then went on with the preparations for Xmas.

      •  Since we stopped investing in being a first world (3+ / 0-)

        country in the eighties.

        Long term blackouts are the new norm.

        Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.

        by Horace Boothroyd III on Sat Jul 21, 2012 at 05:40:08 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The lesson we should take from this is (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Horace Boothroyd III, native

          that civilization can self-destruct in one generation. If assets, both natural and man made, are not maintained and the next generation is not given the requisite skills, everything can fall apart.
          History keeps telling us that destruction arrived from outside.  But, that's a lie told by people who don't want to be in charge of their own fate, or don't know how. We shouldn't put such people in charge and we shouldn't let them tell us what's what. They don't know.
          When they talk about "feelings" and "faith" and "belief," that's a clue that they are themselves clueless.

          The Romney slogan is "Believe in America"
          That's an injunction whose target is not spelled out -- a good thing since America is either a continent that's quite real and faith is not needed to see it, or America is a figment of the imagination, a secular substitute for a mythical entity that has no more substance than "the nation." The similarity between "national security" and "national socialism" should remind us that the problem with the latter wasn't the social reference, but rather the elevation of a figment of the imagination (a secular version of a deity) over the interests and welfare of real people.
          For that matter, the elevation of private property and ownership over the intrinsic properties and functions of humans is not much better -- worse, when considers that bargain had to be made to make owning humans legal.

          Willard's forte = "catch 'n' cage"

          by hannah on Sat Jul 21, 2012 at 06:01:09 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Let's get to the root of the problem. (13+ / 0-)

    The NRA buys off our politicians with threats to get rid of them.

    It seems every major problem we have in this f'n country is the MONEY IN OUR POLITICS!

    THAT is what has to end!!!

  •  Homeland Security (10+ / 0-)

    Is a massive waste. The agency is focussed on a very narrow definition of terrorism by a very narrow group of people. And the types of acts it is trying to prevent are extremely unlikely in the first place.
       Combing through the Internet for comments, infiltrating Quaker meetings, and similar activities doesn't make anybody more secure.
       If the police state level surveillance system were of any value, a couple of agents would come around asking questions when someone goes on a weapons buying spree.

  •  If anyone wants to permanently shitcan the word (6+ / 0-)

    "homeland," they have my full support.

    rMoney: Just another jerk, lookin' for work.

    by OleHippieChick on Sat Jul 21, 2012 at 06:01:16 AM PDT

  •  They Were Busy Checking Whether I Had One (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Williston Barrett, elkhunter

    or two ounces of shampoo in my carry on.

    The Republican Party is Simply a Coalition of Greed and Hate

    by kerplunk on Sat Jul 21, 2012 at 06:17:30 AM PDT

  •  they were also too busy (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Williston Barrett, artisanrox, native

    putting me on the Watch List in 2002 for allegedly joining Aryan Nation, and buying books and a CD from them. I'm Jewish, and we don't "do" Aryan Nation. But it does show an intense interest in my Internet traffic. I still get my luggage inspected, and they leave that nice pink neon strip in my disheveled bag (generally with something missing) telling me they went through my luggage for my own good.
    But seriously, their interest in domestic terrorists is shockingly lacking, and until they wake up to the fact of the roiling waters in our own country, they won't catch people like the Aurora shooter.

    Life is a shipwreck. But we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats. — Voltaire

    by agrenadier on Sat Jul 21, 2012 at 06:53:34 AM PDT

  •  Exactly why my bullshit meter started (5+ / 0-)

    clanging to beat the band yesterday morning. And again this morning, after hearing about how this jumoke purchased all this firepower:

    Where in the hell was Homeland Security?
    Either they have been monitoring all the wrong things all this time, or else they are not equipped to watch for stuff like this. And being a relatively new agency, there's no excuse for either possibility.

    What occurred to me then was that maybe they just flat-out don't give a damn, because mass murders justify their very existence (nevermind the fact that their very name suggests they've already failed at that existence--but that's a whole other diary....)

    What the hell is their purpose, again? Perhaps they should spend less time mindlessly data-mining courtesy of AT&T and more time, you know, monitoring websites that sell military-weapons-grade ammo in bulk, to see where it's coming from.

    But you see, I have half an idea they know the answer to that question already, too; hence the crickets you will get in response to your question of them.

    Where in the hell was Homeland Security?
    They were too busy monitoring dissent. Don't you get it? They don't give a damn if we kill one another, long as we don't say or do anything that threatens them and their power.

    It is time to #Occupy Media.

    by lunachickie on Sat Jul 21, 2012 at 07:52:52 AM PDT

  •  We have this in the workplace, too. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    native, Williston Barrett, chimene

    Store detectives nowadays DO NOT work to catch shoplifters.  They work SOLELY to harass and monitor employees.  It used to not be like this.  Really.  

    A la, Homeland Security.

  •  "Homeland security" is simply a boondoogle (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Williston Barrett

    Lots of people make money off of it, but it doesn't really provide any safety.   It is just impossible, humans are clever and resourceful creatures.    People in prison manage to commit murder.

    Really the only way to deal with it if you don't want to accept it as a tradoff for our "freedoms" is to make it more difficult to access weapons of mass destruction.   Not glorifying the gun culture and letting the little boy men get their rocks off by collecting such weapons and ammo would be a good start.     The responsible hunter/target shooter is a long way from the guys with machine guns taking their kids to shoot and blow up old cars.

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