Sunday, December 5, 2010

NY City: Police State Theater

Truth is stranger than fiction; Blade Runner meets Until the End of the World meets The Matrix meets The Prisoner, oh, you know .. the police state they started creating on September 11th is now here, as if we didn't know that already.
There are so many police," said Jackie Carey, 71, of Wilmington, Del., as she looked over Rockefeller Plaza crowds from the steps of St. Patrick's Cathedral. "There's like about five policemen on the corner. How many policemen does it take for you to get across the street?"

Cameras are everywhere; images captured are watched by:
software [that] searches constantly for suspicious activity, such as an object that does not move for a long time. The computers can also search for specific shapes and colors, such as a suspect wearing a green jacket. In September, police added 500 more cameras to the system.
Random searches of bags and those wishing to visit the Statue of Liberty must go through "two separate, airport-style security checkpoints."

Aside from the heavy visual reminders of Big Brother watching you every moment (with its sub-message: don't step out of line) citizens are encouraged to be paranoid of each other, and to feel a sense of civic pride in snitching on their neighbors:
In rail stations, travelers are bombarded with messages warning them to be on the lookout for suspicious activity.

In the subways, train conductors tell passengers, "If you see something, say something." So do posters and ticket machines.

Ilene Zatal, 62, says she used to look forward to buying her monthly Metrocard because of the poetry the city printed on the back of them. . .

"Within five miles of where you live, there are enough strange things to keep you wondering all your life," she said, reading a verse from E.W. Howe. "Wonderful. Before, they used to all say things like that."

And, like fascist states, which heavily control the arts and creative expression, those beautiful lines of poetry once given freely for all to enjoy, have been replaced with this reminder:

Then she pulled out her current card.

"If you see something, say something," it said in Spanish.


Naomi Wolf tried to tell us in 2007 with her book The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot and her ten steps to a fascist state. Read an interview with Wolf here.

Terrorism makes New York more wary, gradually - Yahoo! News

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