Category Archives: security theater


Today an anonymous user made controversial changes to Wikipedia’s article on the Second Amendment and five related pages. The IP address used,, belongs to, i.e. Handgun Control Inc. the Brady Campaign to Monopolize Gun Violence. Who’d have thunk it.

Meanwhile on my side of the fence, Mike Lorrey was temporarily banned from Wikipedia for unnecessarily insisting on loaded language like fascist. Some people never learn.

pseudosecurity watch has info on Deborah Davis (busted for refusing to show her papers when a city bus crossed Fed turf), Dudley Hiibel (busted under Nevada law for failing to comply with an arbitrary demand for his papers) and John Gilmore (suing for restoration of our right to travel).

Hiibel’s case was lost at the Supreme Court. Gilmore’s is to be heard shortly by the Ninth Circuit. Davis is to be arraigned this week in federal court (District of Colorado).

Wednesday: Feds evidently decided not to risk making Davis a test case.

any old papers please

Today’s assignment was in a building where I hadn’t worked before, so I didn’t know about the fascist gatekeeper. Luckily my Costco card has a picture of me.

I oughta make a laminated card with my picture and a name such as “Archibald ‘Harry’ Tuttle”. Suggestions of other names are invited.

The Uses of Disaster

Interesting essay in Harpers (cited by the muted horn).

The Scottish-born mathematician Eric Temple Bell, who witnessed the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire, saw “no running around the streets, or shrieking, or anything of that sort” but instead people who “walked calmly from place to place, and watched the fire with almost indifference, and then with jokes, that were not forced either, but wholly spontaneous.” Another survivor, San Francisco editor Charles B. Sedgwick, noted – perhaps somewhat hyperbolically – that “even the selfish, the sordid and the greedy became transformed that day – and, indeed, throughout that trying period – and true humanity reigned.” This phenomenon of “surprising” human kindness and good sense is replicated time and again.
. . . .
The Bush Administration’s response after 9/11 was a desperate and extreme version of this race to extinguish too vital a civil society and reestablish the authority that claims it alone can do what civil society has just done – and, alas, an extremely successful one.

After several shining examples of the good things people do in spite of the state, the writer’s bias against the private sector takes over; the segue is jarring.

intentions sometimes count

Jacob Sullum observes:

As I read the relevant Supreme Court decisions, if the [New York] police said they would randomly search bags [on the subway] for drugs, unlicensed guns or other contraband, mentioning in passing they would, of course, arrest anyone they happened to find with a bomb, the searches would be unconstitutional. But since they’ve said they are randomly searching bags for bombs, mentioning in passing they will also arrest anyone found with drugs, an unlicensed gun or other contraband, the searches probably will be upheld.