Only Terrorists Have Seven Day’s Worth Of Food
"There are laws on the books now that characterise who might be a terrorist: someone missing fingers on their hands is a suspect according to the department of justice. Someone who has guns, someone who has ammunition that is weatherproofed, someone who has more than seven days of food in their house can be considered a potential terrorist," Paul said. "If you are suspected because of these activities, do you want the government to have the ability to send you to Guantánamo Bay for indefinite detention?"
Guns and ammo? It’s our constitutional right to have these, but no surprise why an oppressive government wouldn’t trust citizens who do. Missing fingers? Presumably on the assumption you lost them while making a bomb. These both make sense, in a twisted authoritarian sort of way.
But food stockpiles? More specifically, food stockpiles lasting barely more than a week? I could – maybe – understand why a paranoid government would distrust someone with food sufficient to last several years: if you really are planning to become a domestic terrorist, it would behoove you to have a stockpile handy so you can vanish into the wilderness rather than make regular supply runs into town. Of course, there are also perfectly innocent reasons to keep that much food on hand: maybe you’re a Mormon with the religious obligation to store a couple years’ worth of supplies. Maybe you watch enough disaster porn to fear starvation if the Yellowstone supervolcano erupts or a dinosaur-killing asteroid strikes. Maybe you’re poor, or fear becoming so, and stockpile non-perishable food to ensure that even without money, you can still eat. Maybe you live in an isolated rural area and fear a blizzard or other storm could keep you housebound for a long time. Maybe you live in hurricane country and already know firsthand about being cut off from civilization for awhile.
Still, I can understand – sort of –why a paranoid government would look askance at anyone with several years’ worth of food on hand. But seven days?
I suppose I run the risk of disappearing into a military black hole by admitting this, but what the hell: ever since I left my parents’ house and set up housekeeping on my own, I’ve always had at least two week’s worth of food on hand. As a college student working for tips in stripper bars I had an erratic income, so whenever canned or dried food I liked went on sale, I’d stock up. (Indeed, there were lean weeks when those canned and dried goods were the only thing keeping me fed.)
Now I’m a freelancer with an even more erratic income, so I still stock up on sale days: a few weeks ago I bought ten cans of baked beans – the maximum allowed for a customer – when the store sold them for 40 percent off. I also face occasional power outages, so I make sure to have a Sterno kit and plenty of heat-n-serve food like canned spaghetti; that came in handy when I lost electricity for a week after the unseasonably early blizzard last October.
But even if none of this applied to me – even if I were the happy-go-lucky sort who never worried about bad luck and therefore never planned for it – I’d often have more than seven days’ worth of food on hand for the simple reason that I only go grocery shopping once a week. And if there’s only one or two people in your household it’s hard not to buy more than seven day’s worth of food, not unless you eat the same thing every day: rice and flour are most often found in five- or ten-pound bags. A box of just-add-water pancake mix could feed a person for nearly a week. Eggs are sold by the dozen. Oatmeal, coffee, farina, sugar … if you buy “ingredients” rather than “processed meals,” you pretty much have to buy more than seven days’ worth at a time.
So there are plenty of non-terrorist reasons a person would have more than seven days’ worth of food stores; why has the government set such a ridiculously low cut-off for the “potential terrorist” threshold? Why pretend a week’s worth of food is equivalent to plutonium? The only explanation that makes any sense, especially in light of the indefinite-detention bill, is the explanation offered by a commenter on my last blog post:
My bet is that they are preparing for the total collapse of the global economy in the next year or so and will use this to take out anyone who doesn't accept their fate as serfs.Sounds paranoid, I know. Utterly ridiculous. But what other explanation makes sense? Until the indefinite-detention bill, I routinely pooh-poohed the concerns of people who blathered on about FEMA concentration camps set up in the western deserts, or feared mass round-ups of citizens in the streets. But now? Unless Obama vetoes the bill – and he’s already said he won’t – any American suspected of terrorism can be made to disappear. And any American with more than a week’s worth of food in their pantry can be suspected of terrorism. And oh, dear God in whom I wish I could believe, I am so very terrified.
NEXT-DAY EDIT: After an uneasy night's sleep, another possible motivation occurs to me: Alabama has made headlines these past couple months, after its anti-illegal immigration initiatives resulted in a statewide loss of their agricultural force, and crops rotting in the fields en masse. Alabama officials have suggested filling the gap by using prison labor to bring in the crops. Maybe the government's motivation here is to ensure a steady supply of slave laborers, for any politically connected businesses that want it.