Friday, December 17, 2021

Tech-drunk Authoritarians

As some folks know, I worked on US immigration policy for over a decade, and wrote the first mile-by-mile analysis of security needs along our land borders which propelled the idea of secure fencing (a wall like we have along our major highways) into the national debate.  

I appeared on Crossfire (as the liberal) who convinced Pat Buchanan that his previous "open-borders, what's-wrong-with-slavery" position was untenable. 

Pat Buchanan wrote his first op-ed in support of border security within 10 days of our debate, and he went on to drum the border wall idea in a book that was read by the racist reactionary orange mental midget Donald Trump and his cast of Krazy KKK Kon-men. 

I mention this because 200 miles of secure fencing or border wall (what I was actually proposing) is positively benign and Disney-like compared to the dystopian law enforcement nightmare dreamed up and operationalized by today's tech-drunk authoritarians. 

Over at The Intercept, Sam Biddle writes:

BRINC, A RISING star among the many companies jockeying to sell drones to police, has a compelling founding mythology: In the wake of the 2017 Las Vegas mass shooting, its young founder decided to aid law enforcement agencies through the use of nonviolent robots. A company promotional video obtained by The Intercept, however, reveals a different vision: selling stun gun-armed drones to attack migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.

I had never heard of Brinc, but I found the video that Sam Biddle uncovered positively terrifying.  

Here's the pitch for a "Wall of Drones" flying all over the border, down pipelines, and (why not?) down city streets.

I am reminded that if one studiously ignores problems, from maintenance to design, from weak thinking to destructive political movements, they have a habit of festering, rotting, and triggering ugly backlash and/or requiring major surgery later on.  

In 1989 I was writing about the need for better thinking and moderate action as far as immigration law enforcement was concerned, and my father was writing about the need to look at global warming.  We both could read data and understood the direction and velocity of change,

Thirty years later both issues -- immigration law enforcement and global warming -- are bubbling in hot pots on top of the stove.  Did we have an opportunity to turn down the heat over 30 years ago?  We did.  What now?  I do not know, but please God, let it not be unleashing predator drones here at home.

No comments: