Monday, January 7, 2013
THE SECRET POLICE
The surreal world of the super-state has become a little more mixed up in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook, CT school shooting. The Journal News of White Plains, NY obtained the names and addresses of 33,614 handgun permit holders in Rockland and Westchester counties and published them, with a map identifying those addresses in an article published on-line, as described in this NYT article, with unforeseen results. A computer hacker published the addresses on-line of 225 of the Journal News staff. Of course, this produced outrage on the part of the newspaper, who, like all members of the media, consider themselves above the trials and tribulations of everyday life. Not only that, there was a serious backlash in the coercion community when it was discovered that the names and addresses of cops and prison guards were among those included in the Journal News expose. The prison guards were astonished that cons and their friends and relatives were able to obtain their home addresses.
This episode follows the controversy in California in regard to untraceable license plates issued to government employees. Even California veterinarians, fire fighters and code officers have been given vehicular anonymity by the state, in addition to cops and prison guards.
There is no a priori right in the US to anonymity. Ordinary citizens are required to supply their name and address in practically any circumstance to a variety of private and public entities. Under the plausible pretext of being exposed to retribution, the coercion community demands that the names and addresses of its agents be kept secret from society at large. Is this a good thing? Is it advisable that a separate class of protected citizens be maintained in secrecy because of the possibility of some adverse reaction to the work that they perform? Is a modern US Gestapo really in our best interest?