Spread Em While You Shock Me
One might think that requiring someone to wear an electric shock bracelet is not only creepy but an outrageous affront to human dignity. Harris Interactive, the marketing research and polling company conducted a survey on November 5-7 that countered this intuition. Shockingly, 37 percent of participants indicated that they would be “completely willing” or “somewhat willing” to wear the bracelet. This survey was conducted after reports that the Department of Homeland Security considered purchasing the “Electronic ID Bracelet” from Lampard Less Lethal, Inc. in 2008. Here’s the record of that correspondence which was proudly displayed on the company’s website before controversy led to it being pulled:
As mentioned, most of the organizing for this program/project will happen within the next month, so I hope budgets will be set shortly thereafter, and then I will have a better idea on what we can do. I believe, once the extent of the funding is known and the budgets allocated, funding for the bracelet concept with the localized emitter/interrogator/restraint stations, will happen.
As part of this budgetary process, could you please provide me with a rough order of magnitude (ROM) estimates [sic] for the development of the system you described? In addition, assuming you were funded, could you please provide me an expected time frame/milestones as to when a prototype of such a system would be available for testing?
To make it clear, we are interested in the mobile read/write emitter concept in conjunction with the immobilizing security bracelet, and look forward to receiving a written proposal.
I look forward to your reply.
Paul S. Ruwaldt
Department of Homeland Security
Science and Technology Directorate,
Office of Research and Development,
William J. Hughes Technical Center
Atlantic City International Airport, NJ 08405
Telephone #: 609-813-2725
As stated the DHS official Paul Ruwaldt was interested in allocating the funds for the purchase of the “immobilizing security bracelet” initially for use at airports. Once implemented all airline passengers would be mandated by the TSA to wear the bracelet once they checked into their flight. The bracelet would be used to deliver incapacitating shock via Electro-Muscular Disruption waves designed to “override the attackers central nervous system” subduing the target and rendering him immobile for minutes. Airline passengers identified as potential security threats would, if implemented, receive the less lethal shock
In a Fox News interview Neil Livingston, the DHS terrorism expert, acknowledged that his department had considered the purchase, although he didn’t think that the “shock part” of the bracelet was going to be adopted. Livingston continued, at the DHS we are “looking for better ways of tracking luggage and passengers and what you may get is an RFID chip put into your ticket or maybe into a bracelet that you would wear at an airport so they can track you.” Such a device, Livingston concluded could help prevent the problem of “lost luggage.”
Ruwaldt’s correspondence points to a more immediate motivation for considering the purchase of the shock bracelets than tracking passengers and luggage as another letters to Lampard Less Lethal reveal. Ruwaldt also hypothesized the potential use of the bracelets to be used for the “restraint of large numbers of individuals in open area environments by a small number of agents or Law Enforcement Officers” and for “interrogation methods.”
The odious applications for such devices run as far as the control freaks’ perverse imaginations will take them. With the amount of power that’ been conferred to the DHS and the excessive authority the DHS has delegated the TSA in turn there is no reason to suppose the power grab will cease anytime soon. That two agencies at the center of protecting national security would arm every airline passengers with a potential wrist detonator is absurd. As Bill Schnier commented on his blog:
“Perfect tool for terrorists; upon boarding an aircraft, everyone is given a high-voltage power supply sufficient for detonating a binary explosive”.
Since the TSA was created as part of the Aviation d Transportation Security Act in 2001 they have not yet discovered and consequently have not prevented a single terrorist act. The national security agency has however been involved in several less heroic feats. Daily Kos blogger rideronthestorm highlighted some of the TSA’s most ignominious acts including forcing women to remove nipple rings with pliers, breaking laptop computers and threatening anyone who complains, detaining and searching 5-year-olds, deliberately contaminating sterile medical equipment, pointing guns at deaf people, and detaining babies until they die.
Unfortunately hundreds of equally horrifying complaints have been filed against the TSA. Blogger Erin Chase reported in 2012 that she literally had her vagina groped by a TSA agent. Steven Deforest disclosed how he was given a less lethal sack-tap after refusing to enter through a body. And this past September TSA agent John W. Irwin pleaded guilty to one account of larceny after stealing $520 from an airline passenger who complained about his invasive pat down.
Despite all of this not only has the DHS pursued spending tax dollars to authorize the TSA to track and shock travelers over a third of Americans are “completely willing” or at least “somewhat willing” to go along with it. In the same survey conducted by Harris Interactive 35 percent of participants also indicated that they found it “completely acceptable” or “somewhat acceptable” if TSA agents touched the genitals of air travelers during pat downs. Almost a third were also willing to spread their cheeks for an anal cavity search. You can sit on this poll to see the results for yourself.
I suppose those of us who assume that electrocuting air line passengers in the name of homeland security and butt searches in the name of internal safety is creepy and inhumane do not constitute an overwhelming majority.
How much further our sense of self respect will decline is anybody’s guess. Unless we refuse to be grouped with those who will put up with anything including manual rape by security officials we will contribute to institutionalizing the control freaks’ command “spread em.”