Do Threats Make You Nervous?

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threat: an expression of intention to inflict evil, injury, or damage

from "threat central" — the White House:

There are five Threat Conditions, each identified by a description and corresponding color. From lowest to highest, the levels and colors are:

# Low Condition (Green). This condition is declared when there is a low risk of terrorist attacks.

# Guarded Condition (Blue). This condition is declared when there is a general risk of terrorist attacks.

# Elevated Condition (Yellow). An Elevated Condition is declared when there is a significant risk of terrorist attacks.

# High Condition (Orange). A High Condition is declared when there is a high risk of terrorist attacks.

# Severe Condition (Red). A Severe Condition reflects a severe risk of terrorist attacks.

The Department of Homeland Security tells us the current status:

# The United States government’s national threat level is Elevated, or Yellow.

# The U.S. threat level is High, or Orange, for all domestic and international flights.

# At this time there is no credible information warning of an imminent, specific threat to the homeland.

So while there is no threat there is a significant general risk and a high risk on aircraft (and the government’s "threat levels" are actually risk levels).

Does that make sense? Don’t ask. Actually, it’s not supposed to make sense except to make it clear to Americans that the government is in charge:

Randolph Bourne: "Wartime brings the ideal of the State out into very clear relief, and reveals attitudes and tendencies that were hidden. In times of peace the sense of the State flags in a republic that is not militarized. For war is essentially the health of the State. The ideal of the State is that within its territory its power and influence should be universal. As the Church is the medium for the spiritual salvation of man, so the State is thought of as the medium for his political salvation. Its idealism is a rich blood flowing to all the members of the body politic. And it is precisely in war that the urgency for union seems greatest, and the necessity for universality seems most unquestioned."

Part of American militarization is the expanded US Border Patrol, which operates fixed and roving checkpoints, as well as random vehicle stops, within the United States and its territories. You may not see them where you live, but in the Southwest they have a highly visible presence, and no doubt they will be coming to a community near you eventually. The Border Patrol is now on a hiring spree to meet a recruitment goal of 18,000 agents.. It’s the largest expansion of the Border Patrol ever. Employees will make anywhere between $40,000 and $48,000 their first year of employment, and have the potential to earn up to $75,000 by the end of their third year. There are federal government benefits and a chance to retire as young as age 50,

Border Patrol Agents, according to their "supporters" website, can operate anywhere within the United States — including Hawaii and Alaska and even Puerto Rico (in their vernacular it’s the Ramey Sector). You might not normally see Border Patrol Agents in Kansas but that sure doesn’t mean they aren’t there; they are. If a Border Patrol Agent stops you, your actions and reactions to the Agent’s questions can and will determine how long and how involved the interview will be.

The Agent will stop you because he has "reasonable suspicion" that you-the-pedestrian or you-the-occupant-of-a-vehicle is an illegal alien or is involved in "criminal activity." The Border Patrol Agent must notice that you are different from "innocent persons engaged in similar but legal behaviour." But to the Agent, his "reasonable suspicion" is the "sole authority" for your "detention." To the Agent, "reasonable suspicion" may be engendered by:

  • Suspicious behaviour
  • Unusual reaction to uniformed officers
  • Nervous demeanor
  • Corroborated tips
  • Citizen calls

According to "supporters" of the Border Patrol: Federal officers can freely stop vehicles for inspection at these checkpoints without any required level of suspicion or justification. That is the law. Most of these checkpoints have separate areas reserved nearby where a vehicle can then be nearly stripped under what is called "secondary inspection." The referral of a vehicle to "secondary inspection" needs only to be "selective" and does not require any "reasonable suspicion." It is best if you do not annoy, abuse, alarm, alert, tease, torment, or disturb a Border Patrol Agent at any of these checkpoints. While the Agent is having this consensual conversation with you you are — essentially — detained. You and your vehicle cannot leave. It is very important that you do not attempt to leave.

You will then be a "detainee" — does that ring any bells?

It gets worse — the "supporters of the Border Patrol" website continues: Leaving the Agent without his permission will almost certainly be met with what is called in the vernacular of the profession a "Dynamic Apprehension." We civilians might call it ….. a chase and a tackle. The problem with a Dynamic Apprehension is that one or more of you will fall to the ground and or bounce off of various hard objects like walls, cars, the sidewalk or rocks and bushes if perpetrated in more suburban areas. This fall almost certainly will be with you — the illegal / the uncooperatve — on the bottom and with the usually larger more athletically inclined Agent on top. If somehow you wind up on top then things can get very energetic and the mysteries of your life may be found in your autopsy report.

Whatever. They’re just kidding, probably. Don’t get nervous.

So while there is no threat, the country is at war and the threat level is "elevated" even though there is no threat which means that your car can be "nearly stripped" and you can be "detained" if you have a "nervous demeanor." But you have no reason to be nervous if there is no threat, even though the threat level is "elevated."

You can’t make this stuff up, and it bears repeating: "As war and government prove, insanity is the most contagious of diseases." ~ Edward Abbey

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