One thing is clear amidst the shower of confusion and contradiction that bathes the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing: the legal and technological structure of a police state is in place and can be quickly activated. As if on cue, while the hunt for the bombers was ongoing, the House of Representatives obligingly enhanced that police state capability by passing the draconian Cyber Intelligence and Protection Act (CIPA). If approved by the Senate and signed by the President, it will greatly expand the government’s intrusion into all our lives.
It wasn’t a good week for freedom.
Images are always important. They frame our memories and memory is the sketch artist of our consciousness. Here’s an image. Boston — an enduring symbol of this country’s democracy, intellectual pursuit and progressive thinking — is deserted because the government won’t let people come out of their homes. Armoured vehicles cruise neighborhoods and people from at least four different agencies or mercenary companies walk the streets with military weapons stopping methodically to pull people from their houses at gunpoint and search them and sometimes their homes. All the while, broad sections of public street and gathering places are under camera surveillance and the government processes that footage and acts on it within hours.
We’re not yet in a police state but we can be with a single command. Last week demonstrated that.