Friday, November 6, 2009

Boys and Their Toys

© 2009 Stan Spire

Yesterday evening a woman from Iceland was supposed to appear before a federal judge here in Plattsburgh. She had been detained at the border by federal agents. Whoever was watching her – immigration officials or U.S. marshals – fell for the old “I have to go to the bathroom” bit. Instead of powdering her nose, she took a powder.

So local law enforcement went into action. Downtown Plattsburgh was cordoned off. She wasn't going to get away. Of course, if someone had been doing their job and had some smarts, her escape wouldn't have happened.

I found out about this later. The first indication I had that something was going on was when a helicopter kept flying over my place, again and again, chop-chop-chop. All I want is some peace and quite but that solitude kept getting chopped up.

When I went out for a walk, the helicopter was still flying around, shining a searchlight into the backyards of various homes.

OK, I can see this stuff happening when an armed and loaded terrorist is on the loose, getting ready to set off some bombs. But when law enforcement officials sent out an alert about the escapee, they stated that they believed the woman was “not dangerous.” She ended up being caught outside the city limits after a couple of alert citizens spotted her and called the state police. The cordon and the helicopter search were useless.

Once again a lot of fuel was burned by the Homeland Security helicopter. If the border has to be constantly protected from terrorists, then why does the HS copter have enough time to aid the local police? It's not the first time this has happened.

It seems the HS copter needs to find some action to justify its existence. Hell, why not sent it out to locate a lost puppy or kitty cat?

This reminds me of an incident from years ago. Law-enforcement officers were given some new toys to play with, paramilitary uniforms and weapons. The black-clad officers were scouring Plattsburgh for a fugitive. A citizen would look out the window and see a fully-armed body-armored stranger running by his house. There was an uproar because citizens were terrorized by the overreaction. They didn't know what the paramilitary types were doing.

But give the boys some shiny new toys – uniforms, weapons, helicopters – and they have to play.

Fun financed by your taxes. And while they play with their toys, basic and practical law enforcement become secondary – and second-rate.

That's how a woman could escape with the old bathroom ploy.

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