Thursday, 13 August 2009

We’re Just Cannon Fodder for the War on Terror

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Despite politicians’ best efforts, a bit of truth occasionally creeps into the public discourse. So it was with former president George Bush and his linking the War on Terror with the government’s one on drugs. These internecine struggles do indeed have much in common: both feature the Feds fighting, wounding and killing the American people. Sure, Mexican drug dealers and members of Al-Qaeda sometimes find themselves in the line of fire, but on the whole, America’s rulers wage war against the taxpayers footing their bills.

Equally tragic, the casualties tend to be poor, weak, or damaged. More civilized times would have treated these sad folks with Christian compassion. But the Warriors on Terror know no shame. They brutalize their fellow-citizens, then proudly point at the carnage to justify the State’s ridiculous ruthlessness.

A 32-year-old schizophrenic is one of their latest victims. Scott McGann used to be a computer technician with his own software firm in California; he moved to New York City three years ago and, as his demons overtook him, lived on the streets when jails disguised as hospitals weren’t imprisoning him. Though we must question the verdict of derangement: he “was arrested in June inside the Manhattan Criminal Courthouse after he ran up and down hallways screaming and grabbing papers out of lawyers’ hands” — eminently sane behavior, given the insanity of the courts.

At any rate, his mother hoped to bring him home and bought him a ticket for a flight. Mr. McGann went to LaGuardia Correctional Institute — sorry, Airport — in the middle of the night on a recent Saturday to catch his very early plane. He “appeared ‘highly intoxicated,’” according to a cop, and was “sweating profusely.” Yep: so are 8 million other people in this sweltering City of an August morning. But the aforementioned Warriors have long viewed sweat with the highest suspicion, perhaps because they seldom work one up while sponging off our taxes.

Mr. McGann added to the crime of perspiring by refusing to cooperate with the interrogation that precedes boarding a plane: a spokesman for the airport described him as “disheveled and unresponsive.”  Predictably, he didn’t make it past United Airlines’ ticket counter before the agent who was supposed to be serving him snitched on him instead. When government subsidizes an industry as heavily as it does aviation, its employees assist the “authorities,” not us.

Also ratting him out were two concerned citizens who “saw something and said something.” Ironic, isn’t it, that the propaganda our taxes buy works far more effectively than the other nonsense on which government wastes our money.

All those reports sent “Officers Robert Keane and Thomas Sullivan” scurrying to “tackle McGann” and his backpack. The latter held a "hoax device,” (oh, the knock-out blows bureaucracy deals the English language!) made from wires and “several batteries that had been taped together, with no explosives.” Warriors Keane and Sullivan “ripped” the backpack from Mr. McGann “as he pressed a trigger device connected to” his make-believe bomb. “Officials quickly discovered that the device in the man’s bag was not dangerous.” But with terrorists lurking behind every potted plant on the concourse these days, one can never be too sure whether batteries might miraculously detonate after all. So “the NYPD Bomb Squad doused the bag with a high-powered water cannon, a method used to disarm real bombs.” No doubt we’re the safer for it, too.

You might think that would end the matter since “investigators [had] quickly determined that the device wasn't dangerous.” But if the passengers already thronging LaGuardia on “one of the busier travel days of the summer” were allowed to continue merrily on their way, would they appreciate the fake danger from which Leviathan had rescued them? Lest the lesson be lost, authorities evacuated the airport. This boneheaded and utterly self-serving decision “forced … thousands of passengers onto the roadways and creating [sic] a snarling domino effect of traffic that crippled operations,” not only for customers trying to make their planes but for the crews manning those planes as well. “[S]cores of flights [at LaGuardia] and around the country were canceled or delayed.” Our rulers waited 4½ hours to re-open the airport. "People are fighting and people are cutting into lines," one passenger reported. It was “textbook pandemonium.”

Naturally, the “pandemonium” cannot possibly be government’s fault. So what if cops drastically and hysterically over-reacted to a man they themselves admit was "just acting crazy,” one who had “that thousand-yard stare”? No, the blame for the entire incident falls on Mr. McGann, and the police state will punish him accordingly. It has charged him with “three felonies: placing a false bomb, placing a false bomb in a transportation facility and making terrorist threats.”

Mr. McGann’s understandably “distraught” mother “defended her mentally ill son” to the press though she was “barely able to speak through her tears.” Both she and her boy can thank God he survived his collision with aviation’s gulag. Other disturbed people haven’t.

Rigoberto Alpizar was returning to his home in Florida from a short-term mission trip to South America when he landed at Miami International for the final leg of his trip. He suffered problems similar to Mr. McGann’s and became upset a few moments after boarding his connecting flight. He tried to disembark past oncoming passengers. Air marshals chased him onto the jetway, then shot and killed him.

Two years later, Carol Anne Gotbaum was flying from New York City to a clinic in Arizona for help with her alcoholism. She became agitated during a layover at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. Cops there arrested her and dragged her to a cell – where she suddenly, mysteriously died. The government claims she strangled herself, one tough feat for a woman with her hands cuffed behind her back.

After LaGuardia re-opened, the concourse serving Mr. McGann’s carrier “remain[ed] closed indefinitely so the investigation could continue.” An airport spokesman explained: “That’s a crime scene.”

It certainly is. But the criminal isn’t Mr. McGann.

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