Getting Grandma

As Leviathan’s fist tightens, it has begun beating up girls old enough to be grandmothers. It recently ambushed two harmless women, pretended they committed crimes, and punished them as though they are predators instead of prey. Nor has it blushed at such barbarity.

First, there’s 64-year-old Martha Stewart. The government’s had this poor woman in its crosshairs for years. And for what? Milling her own flour before she bakes a cake? Surely the state has tormented her enough by now to satisfy even the most sadistic of its myrmidons. But no. Though she was released from prison five months ago, the crusade against her continued. She was placed under house arrest when the Feds apparently confused her with bureaucrats and politicians as a threat to the community. Her neighbors must have been grateful for this protection: no telling when Martha might drop by with a batch of Chocolate Chip-Cherry Cookies to distract them while she ran a white-gloved finger over their coffee tables.

“House arrest” is Leviathan’s term for treating grown adults as though they are teens, and the rules imposed on those so grounded are as ridiculous as the premise. The government permits its victim to leave her house — her actual dwelling, not her property — for a grand total of 48 hours each week. Even then, she may go only to work, church, the doctor’s, or the grocery store. Very prudent of Leviathan: were she to have the run of the town, our domestic desperado might try showing shopkeepers how to arrange their wares more tastefully. At any rate, Martha flouted Our Masters’ rules by driving about her estate. I feel menaced; how about you? She also celebrated her birthday this week by attending a yoga class, with her daughter, no less, and then shopping for books. Think of the risk to us law-abiding citizens.

Worse, she laughed at Leviathan. The New York Post reported that “officials were…troubled by a recent Stewart interview where she mimicked the voice of her probation office [and] bragged of knowing how to remove her electronic monitoring anklet…” The state has retaliated by clubbing her with another three weeks of house arrest.

That gives the government more chances to shame her. And no humiliation is too petty: Our Masters want their vengeance to chafe, literally. The electronic anklet irritates her skin, but, as she told fans, “I am not allowed to take it off at any time, and I am not allowed, while in my home, to have any padding under the strap.” Lord knows where a criminal of Martha’s stature might limp if Leviathan weren’t dogging each sore footstep — perhaps to Whole Foods for some sun-dried tomatoes.

Thanks to an entrepreneurial genius that saw dollars in donuts, darning, and dusting, Martha is — or was, before the state set out to ruin her — a wealthy woman. But Leviathan does not discriminate when devouring citizens: its maw gapes insatiably. The other lady it chewed up and spit out this month is a 62-year-old retired schoolteacher named Phyllis Dintenfass.

Phyllis had the guts to do what so many of us have so often longed to: when an airport screener got frisky, Phyllis groped her in turn and demanded, “How would you like it if I did that to you?”

The retiree’s criminal career began last September, when she was pulled aside for “secondary screening” at a regional airport in Wisconsin. Terrorists have, of course, tried to take out many skyscrapers and cows in the upper Midwest, and they flood through the regional airports there at the rate of nine or ten per day. So the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) was ready when Phyllis triggered the metal detectors. A female supervisor led her to a private area and conducted what the TSA euphemizes as a “limited pat-down procedure.”

Phyllis called it something else: “She was feeling me up.” She testified at her trial last week that she “felt violated.” She told her attacker, “u2018I don’t like you feeling me up.’ [The screener] said, ‘I’m not feeling you up.’ I told her, ‘My husband’s been feeling me up for 40 years. I know what that feels like…'” Phyllis then returned the favor. Not surprisingly, the screener objected when what she’d done unto others was done unto her. So much, in fact, that she called the cops on Phyllis. And so this older lady whom friends characterize as mild-mannered, whose interests run not to murder and mayhem but to “art, textiles and education issues,” was dragged into a Wisconsin courtroom. There the government tried her for “assaulting” its minion. The jury actually deliberated about whether we serfs may defend ourselves from Our Masters’ sexual abuse. Stunningly, they decided we may not.

Let’s give these twelve twits what they didn’t give Phyllis, the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps they’re decent folks with functioning brains driven temporarily insane by the fierce July heat. Or perhaps they’re androids programmed to kiss Leviathan’s hindquarters. Maybe it’s a combination of the two. At any rate, Phyllis now faces a year in prison and $100,000 in fines when she’s sentenced in November.

The prosecutor, U.S. Attorney Steven Biskupic, is young enough to be Phyllis’ son. His take on the case, according to the Associated Press, is that “TSA officers perform a vital service and are entitled to protection from assault.” Really, Steve? Would you call it a “vital service” had your mother been groped? Should she be arrested and tried for defending herself? Would you prosecute her, knowing she could be imprisoned and bankrupted because she fought back?

The only “crime” of which Martha and Phyllis are guilty is defying the state, and that under extreme provocation. Meanwhile, Leviathan has shown itself once again for a cowardly, craven cuss. Even the slightest effort at self-defense on the part of its victims unleashes all its force and fury. We’d be fools to expect justice or fair play from the government, let alone decency, civility, or chivalry.

But still…