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Watch those Waterway in Florida
August 23, 2002 6:18 PM   Subscribe

Watch those Waterway in Florida says the U.S. Coast Guard. Possible terrorist threats include drawing or taking photographs of the shore, being near the shore for a long time, and under no circumstances would any law abiding citizen be doing something as daring and thoroughly terrorist-like as renting a boat.
posted by benjh (37 comments total)

 
Ahh... as someone who walks around with both a sketchbook and camera in my bag, I'm sure I'd feel much safer in Florida now.

Sheesh.
posted by slipperywhenwet at 7:05 PM on August 23, 2002


Lets round-up all the impressionists!
posted by TskTsk at 7:36 PM on August 23, 2002


That's great, they managed to mention terrorists, drug smuggling, and child abductions all in one short news story.

Thank god that they are not trying to frighten us.
posted by quin at 7:52 PM on August 23, 2002


But they specifically mentioned suspicious looking people doing those things. Is it clear now? Just don't look suspicious.
posted by gordian knot at 8:11 PM on August 23, 2002


Then there's this dude. Florida rocks.
posted by donkeyschlong at 8:14 PM on August 23, 2002


Just don't look suspicious.

Well, easy enough, long as you're white.
posted by slipperywhenwet at 8:16 PM on August 23, 2002


It would be nice if people in government office positions would quit confirming our belief that they are incompetent nincompoops with the IQ of celery.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:18 PM on August 23, 2002


Well there's the possibility that they'll fly boats into build-- sorry bad joke, nevermind.
posted by Stan Chin at 8:39 PM on August 23, 2002


I would have expected some links about the Cost Guard, or the story behind the WWII U-boats spotting effort, etc, some sauce to the FPP!

five fresh fish: you are talking about the system. Hmmm, that's an interesting idea, how do you calculate the IQ of a group?

*gulp* here goes the bait!
posted by MzB at 8:42 PM on August 23, 2002


Hmmm, that's an interesting idea, how do you calculate the IQ of a group?


Easy: divide the mean IQ among those in attendance by the number of stomachs present.
posted by y2karl at 8:53 PM on August 23, 2002


Well, easy enough, long as you're white

This guy's white, and accused of terrorist activities. Interesting that the word terrorism never comes up in the article or the official charges, though.
posted by Karl at 9:11 PM on August 23, 2002


This guy's white, and accused of terrorist activities.

Yeah, and his mom called the cops (or perhaps his wife - CNN and AP disagree). Do you think anyone would have bothered him if he spent an hour or two on the beach alone?
posted by slipperywhenwet at 9:27 PM on August 23, 2002


Perhaps it was a land shark, deftly disguised as a roving artist, looking to scope out the beaches where he and his evil kind are going to commence next Summer's round of shark attacks!
posted by MAYORBOB at 9:37 PM on August 23, 2002


Scary.
posted by donkeyschlong at 9:37 PM on August 23, 2002


OK, smart-asses. How should we look for terrorists?
posted by dhartung at 9:55 PM on August 23, 2002


Well, apparently we wait for their mommies/wives/brothers to rat them out.
posted by donkeyschlong at 10:30 PM on August 23, 2002


From www.historyofthegermanuboat.com/evolutionof.htm I found this as 2002's latest model. It's a photo of a fleet of the most advanced design and weaponry in U-boat construction refueling.
posted by crasspastor at 10:35 PM on August 23, 2002


OK, smart-asses. How should we look for terrorists?

Well, they could start by interviewing this guy. Always thought there was something rather suspicious about him..
posted by slipperywhenwet at 11:12 PM on August 23, 2002


C'mon relax. Travis is on the job.
posted by skyscraper at 11:22 PM on August 23, 2002


Clue: travis=link.
posted by skyscraper at 11:24 PM on August 23, 2002


Not sure how far they would get by interviewing Bob Ross, slipperywhenwet. He went up to the happy little trees in the sky back in 1995.
posted by Kellydamnit at 11:40 PM on August 23, 2002


That's just what he wants you to think!

*snif* now if only the unicorn could get off the aircraft carrier...
posted by Kafkaesque at 2:04 AM on August 24, 2002


Criticism is pointless, unless you offer an alternative. How do you think the US government should look for terrorist?
posted by Beholder at 3:01 AM on August 24, 2002


Criticism is pointless, unless you offer an alternative

Why? Maybe the better alternative is to do nothing?
posted by Summer at 5:23 AM on August 24, 2002


Criticism is pointless

Watch it--that's Borg talk, buddy!
posted by y2karl at 6:42 AM on August 24, 2002


How do you think the US government should look for terrorist?

How about by not getting telling the public to keep their eyes peeled for people taking pictures at the shore. I can see an army of TIPS volunteers getting excited about "suspicious activity." This would probably include any non-white doing pretty much anything. Many of the evil-doers we have to deal with are white guys. Example: If you see a creepy guy around little girls. That's suspicious. Guys - whatever their race - asking how to fly a plane but not landing is suspicious.

Remember the surveillance tape of Mohammed Atta at the airport? He didn't look suspicious at all. Normal business guy in khakis.
posted by birdherder at 6:57 AM on August 24, 2002


er-- "but not how to land" might have made some sense.

sidenote: i can look at a message in preview for an hour and not see little mistakes. but once i click on the 'post' button it is as if the mistakes are in a different color. same with email.
posted by birdherder at 7:00 AM on August 24, 2002


Well, with birdherder's constructive suggestions, I now know to look for a smoking, gaping hole in a building, nuclear power plant, or liquid natural gas facility. Thanks, birdherder! We're sure to find terrorists that way!
posted by dhartung at 8:06 AM on August 24, 2002


Specifics please. How should the government locate terrorist within the US border? If you were the head of the FBI, what would be the framework of your anti terrorism strategy? It's easier to criticize than lead. If you know a way to deal with this new national threat without bruising the constitution, let's hear it.

I'm not happy with some of the things I see the government doing, so I share your frustration, but I try not to second guess, because I don't have a better solution.

It's a pretty safe bet that other Islamic terrorist are already in the US planning their next attack, so how would you locate them, while also respecting the civil rights of Arab Americans?

It's not that easy is it.
posted by Beholder at 8:21 AM on August 24, 2002


with birdherder's constructive suggestions, I now know to look for a smoking, gaping hole in a building, nuclear power plant...

I don't think the onus is on the average citizien to provide plans for securing the infrastructure - this is what we have security experts for: to come up with ideas. But the population then surely does have a stake in the debate over which of those ideas get implimented, no?


But, if you do want specifics: instead of going (massively) overboard with TIPS style survillance, a few key areas of infrastructure should be secured: airports can be effectively secured: LL hasn't had a hijacking in more than 30 years. I'm not suggesting the US put an Israeli model in place, but it's a place to start looking for ideas for what might be practicle.
posted by slipperywhenwet at 8:58 AM on August 24, 2002


Argh! Stupid post button. Sorry, didn't get a chance to edit that message.. stupid spelling mistakes.
posted by slipperywhenwet at 9:01 AM on August 24, 2002


Yes, let's not second-guess the government. It's unpatriotic.

Horseshit.
posted by donkeyschlong at 10:32 AM on August 24, 2002


You're right. It's far more fun to just bitch about everything, without ever having to burden yourself with the responsibility of offering a valid alternative.
posted by Beholder at 11:03 AM on August 24, 2002


I'm not happy with some of the things I see the government doing, so I share your frustration, but I try not to second guess, because I don't have a better solution.

Beholder, your argument doesn't hold water. These are people that we pay (collectively) millions of dollars to insure our safety, uphold the law, and maintain our civil liberties. If they're coming up with plans that we, regular citizens, can find obvious problems with, I submit that the people in charge are not doing their job correctly.
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 12:08 PM on August 24, 2002


How should the government locate terrorist within the US border? If you were the head of the FBI, what would be the framework of your anti terrorism strategy?

Ok Beholder, i'll bite; First i would focus on interdepartmental cooperation. The US intelligence agencies actually do have a reasonably good infrastructure in place already, but due to petty bureaucracy many times these resources are not properly exploited. My feeling is that if the FBI knows something, there is no reason that the other departments shouldn't know it as well.

i would also hire more people who are trained as analysts. It's not that we lack information, it's just that we don't have enough people looking at it. The common analogy is trying to drink from a firehose. i would try and improve our chances of getting a mouthful of water.

My job puts me in a position to deal with the FBI pretty regularly, and despite popular perception, most of the agents that i have dealt with are just regular people not all that interested in encroaching on anyones civil liberties. What most of them are not, however, is skilled analysts. They are skilled at investigation, not at sifting through huge volumes of data. i would try and put into place a stronger system for weeding the small details out that could help them.

i don't think that this would solve all the problems, but i think it would make a hell of a good start to correcting some of the ones that are already there.
posted by quin at 2:12 PM on August 24, 2002


MzB: Good point. It's not that any one person in the system is abysmally stupid, it's that they're collectively stupid.

I think it's a multiplication of competency: 0.0 is wholly incompetent, 1.0 is perfection. No one, of course, is perfect. The system, then, looks something like 0.8 x 0.5 x 0.9 x 0.3 x ... etc.

Which, in the end, works out to be an abysmally small value.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:50 PM on August 24, 2002


How should the government locate terrorist within the US border?
ask someone who knows. the british. the israelis. but don't ask a million retired geezers to line the shore and do it with cellphones. "say, how did morty ever afford that cadillac anyway? that's suspicious, and i'm calling it in..."
posted by quonsar at 4:13 PM on August 24, 2002


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