But so, apparently, are some of the folks in the Missouri Information Analysis Center.
Before you access their Terrorist Tip Page to turn in your neighbor, you might want to download their open source document on how to recognize suspicious behavior.
Some of the things you might want to rat out your neighbors for are pretty routine for law enforcement:
* Attempts to enter secured or sensitive premises or area without authorization (i.e., “official personnel,” closed off areas of airport, harbor, secured areas at significant events such as appearances by politicians, etc.).
* Attempts to smuggle contraband through access control point (airport screening centers, security entrance points at courts of law, sports games, entertainment venues, etc.).
* Attempts to acquire sensitive or restricted items or information (plans, schedules, passwords, etc.).
Others, however, go a bit further off the deep end of the surveillance state mentality:
* Pursues specific training or education which indicate suspicious motives (flight training, weapons training, etc.).
* Stockpiles unexplained large amounts of currency.
* Engages in suspected coded conversations or transmissions (email, radio, telephone, etc., i.e., information found during a private business audit is reported to police).
* In possession of, or solicits, VIP Appearance or Travel Schedules.
* In possession of coded or ciphered literature or correspondence.
Let's break these down:
Flight training or firearms training is now de facto evidence of suspicious intent? Funny, in most cases it has to do with people getting a new job, taking on a hobby, or planning to defend yourself.
Taking money out of your 401K and stuffing it in your mattress is now de facto evidence of suspicious intent? Last I checked, I didn't have to explain to the law why I wanted to keep any amount of cash in my house.
Wanting to know when the President is coming to town is now de facto evidence of suspicious intent? This would pretty much make journalists all the objects of suspicion, not to mention the 50,000 people who turned out in Delaware or the 2 million who turned out in Washington DC to watch Barack Obama....
Fantasizing that you might be able to crack the Beale code is now de facto evidence of suspicious intent?
Intelligence-gathering is all about patterns--I know that. But what has been lost in Missouri and throughout the rest of the country is a sense of proportion and a general respect for either privacy or civil rights.
If I followed Shirley's example and went to one of Delaware Patriot's pistol classes, followed by making an application for a concealed carry permit, according to MIAC (and the Department of Homeland Security, for that matter), I am engaging in suspicious activity that warrants both informing the government and potentially having them investigate me.
We know that this mentality leads to law enforcement agencies conducting clandestine (and even illegal) surveillance of completely peaceful individuals and groups. It already happened in Baltimore.
The surveillance state has been privatized, as well.
So here's my point: crackpots like Alec Jones in possession of real documents sometimes function as canaries in a coal mine or blind squirrels finding nuts.
And if that causes us to look a bit closer at MIAC or DHS, and how they are subtly reshaping the contours of American life, I'm OK with that.