So this seems sane:
Michele Catalano was looking for information online about pressure cookers. Her husband, in the same time frame, was Googling backpacks. Wednesday morning, six men from a joint terrorism task force showed up at their house to see if they were terrorists.
Yeah, Michele Catalano. Longtime blogger (including here at PJ Media). I’ve known her virtually for almost a dozen years, when we both became “warbloggers” in the tense months after 9/11.
Here’s the story in her own words:
I was at work when it happened. My husband called me as soon as it was over, almost laughing about it but I wasn’t joining in the laughter. His call left me shaken and anxious.
What happened was this: At about 9:00 am, my husband, who happened to be home yesterday, was sitting in the living room with our two dogs when he heard a couple of cars pull up outside. He looked out the window and saw three black SUVs in front of our house; two at the curb in front and one pulled up behind my husband’s Jeep in the driveway, as if to block him from leaving.
Six gentleman in casual clothes emerged from the vehicles and spread out as they walked toward the house, two toward the backyard on one side, two on the other side, two toward the front door.
A million things went through my husband’s head. None of which were right. He walked outside and the men greeted him by flashing badges. He could see they all had guns holstered in their waistbands.
Read the whole thing, please.
You know, it would only have taken a single Google search of her name to know that Michele Catalano is no terrorist. She has nearly a million followers on Twitter, including me, in awe of her delightfully shameless sense of humor. Michele is one of the good guys, as any simpleton with an internet connection could have figured out in half a minute. But the people in charge of our security rarely rise to the level of simpleton.
Now let’s go back to where we started, with Philip Bump at The Atlantic:
How’d the government know what they were Googling?
Don’t be evil, Google.
On a broader note, I’d like to add that the first successful American counterattack in the Terror War was a passenger revolt led by Todd Beamer aboard United Airlines Flight 93. The Shoe Bomber was stopped by passengers, too. Meanwhile, the TSA sticks its fists up our collective rectums on a continuing basis and has yet to stop a single terrorist. And now we have some task force idiots showing up at Michele Catalano’s door because of some Google searches the Feds somehow got a hold of.
It’s undeniably clear now that the best defense against terror is an aroused and alert citizenry, and that the surest route to dumbassery is to give the Feds the power to spy on its own people.
We are supposed to be free citizens, not subjects, and it’s way past damn time we took that status back.