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How to get on the terrorist watch list


Impersonate an astronaut? Criticize defense contractors? I have no idea. But at the airport, welcome to the tertiary security check delay, where they dust your hands for potential explosive residue.

“Dust” in an antiquated term relating to the dust detectives used to sprinkle at crime scenes to make fingerprints more visible. These days they “wipe” objects with chemically treated cloths to register the presence of particular substances. The pH strip meets the Swiffer.

I have lost all sense of a control passenger to measure what security measures subjugate the average citizen, as most of my friends do qualify as “persons of interest” to the increasingly hostile corporate atmosphere.

I dropped Protester X off at the bus stop on Lake Circle, between the two roundabouts and went to park the car. I’d left her to don her spacesuit and walk the quarter block to the corner where we’d hold a banner at the Broadmoor’s main entrance. As I doubled back along the sidewalk, I could hear the convention center security radios squawking one after another. “We’ve spotted one by the parking structure” they rang out in alarm. From the next I heard: “She’s at the El Pomar Exit, moving south.” A security official sped by me on a three-wheeled Segway.

By the time I reached my colleague, her new wheeled escort was poised impassively behind her. Here she was, peace flag in hand, looking every bit like a moon walker coming toward me on the sidewalk, with Broadmoor’s grumpy head of security having no sense he was spoiling the imagery. He rolled quietly behind and past us as we assumed our stance on the lawn, and I explained to my fellow astronaut the walkie-talkie hullabalu which had announced her landing. The now usual, annual steps for man, hoping for peace in space, a not inconsiderate leap of faith for mankind.

I’ve had no trouble at airports, perhaps because my actions are an open book. Someone with fewer records or an indeterminate daily schedule, might perhaps rate a question mark on security agency lists.

It’s become more than an inconvenience. Whether your political opinions score the watch list, the no-fly list, or the permissible to assassinate while overseas list, your freedom of expression is abridged.

One thought on “How to get on the terrorist watch list

  1. My youngest sister, age 3 at the time, my grandma, my mom and me got on a Terror Watchlist (they didn’t call it that then) when we allowed a young lady and her two kids to stay overnight on Christmas Eve 1976. Some folks from the church brought them over because we had a reputation for hospitality.

    How do you turn away a young mother on Christmas Eve? Anybody fail to see the symbolism there? It’s the sort of thing we would never do. On Christmas or any other day.

    They left Christmas morning with some local friends.

    On Epiphany, the 6th, of January, Twelfth Day of Christmas from the song… our true love gave to us Two F.B.I. agents.

    The kids’ daddy was a member of the Symbionese Liberation Army and had escaped from La Tuna, the minimum security Federal Prison on the west side of El Paso.

    So, let’s count that out, eh? one two three four five six seven eight nine ten eleven TWELVE days after he piss-a-deers from within walking distance of the Mexican Border and from there, anywhere in the world he could possibly want to go, the Bureau of Freakin’ Incompetence comes knocking on OUR door taking names. Including but not limited to my sister aged 3.

    Getting on the list is really simple. Bush made it even simpler.

    And, whatever they plan to do with it once you’re on the list is entirely up to them, they can snuff you and your entire neighborhood with a Predator Drone without the least bit of oversight. Or simply make it where the property management corporation offering the most excellent sweet deal on an apartment refuses to rent to you, without telling you why.

    “THEY” say they don’t make people disappear, but then, THEY also say that they wouldn’t have to tell anybody if THEY do.

    The very way the so-called Patriot Act is worded is so Orwellian that even the Supreme Court can’t make up their minds how to enforce any protections for liberty that are ALLEGEDLY included therein.

    Or maybe the Supreme Sucks are afraid they too could be disappeared.

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