Sunday, December 18, 2011

Only Terrorists Have Seven Day’s Worth Of Food

Here’s what Senator Rand Paul said about the National Defense Authorization Act, which will enable the military to imprison any American citizen suspected of terrorism without a trial, without a lawyer, without anybody even knowing they’ve been imprisoned:
"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.


Anonymous Wayne said...

Jeepers - government's got it easy. Just watch one of those extreme couponing shows. I'm SURE some of those people are terrorists. What with rooms and cellars full of food and products? All The Man has to do is watch those shows, show up at their home and say we have you on tape - you're gone. And, I bet they do it early in the morning, cuz, you know, that's how they roll.

6:59 AM  
Blogger Monkey said...

I seem to recall somewhere that FEMA recommends people store 2 weeks worth of food in case of natural disasters. So by following the advice of a government agency people can get classified as a terrorist?

8:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great posting. It's powerful and spot on.

5:42 PM  
Blogger BombardierBob said...

New Years Eve, Obama signed the NDAA into law so now they can lock us all up for being suspected of being Terrorists for having more then a week supply of food. Welcome to the United Police States of America!

6:55 AM  
Anonymous keith said...

And oh God, in whom i wish i can believe, i am so very terrified....
I mean no offense to anyone that doesnt believe in God, but we are talking about many multi billion dollar corporations who are using our government the way a puppeteer uses puppets. how else can a law be passed that allows the military to directly involve itself in civilian affairs? hell, even the irs use officers of the law(enforcers)to track down and arrest whomever they deem as tax cheats. the reason the average person doesnt appear to care about any of this is because their to busy trying to pay their rent, find a job, or talk like this just scares the hell out of them. we are the average joe. a few thousand in the bank and a better looking car than your neighbor wont change that. so realistically, can you honestly think of anything, anyone, a group of people, or some kind of movement that is able to not only snap everybody(the 99 percent) into action, but can effectively win against this level of greed and power? cause this is not just happening in america, look up the mysterious death of former poland president lech kaczynski in 2010. at this point in my life i believe God is the only way. i trusted politicians for most of my life, and they all mean well in the beginning only to leave washington richer and corrupted. i know God isnt a popular topic nowadays and im not tryin to sway anybody. but i honestly would like to hear if somebody has a stronger solution other than submission to the government.

8:55 PM  
Anonymous thawupoia said...

Uprise, begin the peoples revolution. American politicians are under the oath of a greater power than government and judicial laws. They're planning something and now this Colorado massacre is not going to help. The results of the James Holmes case is definitely gonna affect our "rights to bear arms". And don't fear the people behind the schemes, that's their goal is for us to fear them. We as people of mother earth are not suppose to fear anything

8:53 AM  
Blogger Lily Shadows said...

You have a damn good point, enough so to where I hope you don't mind, but I used your entry on my own blog.

10:53 AM  

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