Terrifying: Companies are Marketing Police State Normalcy to Children
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When I flew home from Washington, DC after a business trip last week, the TSA agent asked to test my laptop. I politely asked what they were testing for. It was just routine she told me. And she's right, it has become routine, a much too routine standard operating procedure designed to make us believe that the usurping of our privacy and human rights is normal and necessary if we are to be secure and free.
The obvious irony is that we are not secure and free if government agents have a right to violate our privacy and deny our rights without cause. I considered protesting but I figured that the best outcome of that would be missing my flight, the worst case being detained incommunicado in an undisclosed location. The likelihood of a plausible explanation for this sudden interest in my laptop was undoubtedly nil. In otherwords, whatcha gonna do and TSA knows that.
My youngest son barely has a memory of when you could get on a plane without having to take off your shoes first. He was in 4th grade on Sept. 11, 2001 and within days his school was decked out in American flags and "I Support President Bush" signs appeared everywhere. For him this is normal, the way things are supposed to be. And that is no accident.
What is particularly disturbing about the normalizing of this notion that it is unpatriotic to question measures that supposedly defend us from acts of terror is the use of entertainment to hawk the message. In addition to the Disney-owned ABC's Homeland Securityreality show, there is now a Homeland Security television channel on the internet that bills itself as,
(T)he world's first online, on-demand television network dedicated to homeland security and global development. HSTV is a 24/7 interactive television channel dedicated to producing broadcast-quality video programs on all aspects of homeland security and the role of global development in fighting terrorism.
HSTV is also dedicated to facilitating rapid awareness of new technologies and services, and assisting in the transfer of those technology solutions to the government and critical infrastructure marketplace.
And the U.S. military has spared no expense giving kids every opportunity to play sanitized military video games that helpfully provide links to military recruiting sites. In addition to video games such as " America's Army", the Army recently opening the $12 million U.S. Army Experience Center at the Franklin Mills shopping center outside of Philadelphia where kids can play sanitized military video games."
The Philadelphia center lures recruits with a separate room for prospective soldiers to "fire" from a real Humvee on enemy encampments projected on a 15-foot-high (4.5-meter-high) battleground scenario that also has deafening sound effects.
In another room, those inclined to attack from above can join helicopter raids in which enemy soldiers emerge from hide-outs to be felled by automatic gunfire rattling from a simulator modeled on an Apache or Blackhawk helicopter.
Lucinda Marshall is a feminist artist, writer and activist. She is the Founder of the Feminist Peace Network . Her work has been published in numerous publications in the U.S. and abroad including, Counterpunch, AlterNet, Dissident Voice, Off Our Backs, the Progressive, Countercurrents, Z Magazine, Common Dreams, In These Times and Information Clearinghouse. She also blogs at WIMN Online and writes a monthly column for the Louisville Eccentric Observer.