Human Cargo and the Limits of Domestic Security

AP Wire | 09/10/2003 | Man Charged for Shipping Himself As Cargo

Yes, really. I found this on Epiphany in C.

Here’s the thing. I wrote this article right after September 11th, arguing that the problem is, there are weak spots all over in the armor of the American system. I really do think they exist in such massive numbers that for the American government to find them all is impossible. Maybe with enough encouragement and publicization, enough cranks and loudmouths will think up the crazy things terrorists might do, and if the government listens to them (instead of arresting them and charging them) this might facilitate a great closing of the gates.

But that’s what it’s going to be: a closing of the gates. America’s doors will be slammed shut. Because “terrorists” could simply put contact poison on a shipment of manufactured chopsticks from Taiwan, killing thousands of Chinese food restaurant patrons in LA or Denver; they could add some horribly toxic chemicals to portions of gasoline shipments probably for months before they would be discovered. If this kind of thing got the backing of some scientists somewhere, they could genetically engineer fruit with mild hallucinogens or other psychoative agents that increase aggressiveness, produce hallucinations, or cause a host of other problems. This would be social and economic sabotage, and don’t think people aren’t just as interested in these forms as they are in blowing up buildings. Social and economic sabotage have been used by many nations, including the USA, all over the world for a long time. Hell, the word sabotage has to do with economic attacks on plants automatic labour… the Saboteurs were the French luddites, and they were known for sticking their sabots (French for wooden clog-style shoes) into the looms in automated factories during the Industrial Revolution.

Oops, I’ve strayed from my point, which is that the vulnerabilities in America are not just simply security holes, but holes that exist everywhere, and which cannot be even detected without a great deal of imagination, self-inquiry, and perhaps even an embrace of the dysfunctional members of American society, the ones that the current Adminstration would like call unpatriotic or else just crazy.

When an American mails himself home, it’s a crazy stunt. When a crazed terrorist mails himself to downtown LA with a cute little tactical nuke by his side, it’s a whole new game. And sure, they can clamp down security on the postal system. What about the sewage system? Food imports? Water from Canada?

And the sad thing is, I don’t know how they’ll manage to close all the doors and make their economic system keep working as it does. Which means… they won’t close their doors, and they’ll need to control all that stuff from outside. Which is a bad thing… it’s a very bad thing. Because I have a feeling the rest of the world won’t tolerate it.

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