Consider the ultimate gift in a homeland security country: the iTaser, a weapon with its own MP3 player and earphones that can deliver a 50,000 volt electrical charge while you catch your favorite tunes. This new Taser, on display at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, will be available, reports Richard Wray of the British Guardian, in “red, pink and even leopard print designs.” Anyone carrying the iTaser will be able to make what may be the first homeland-security fashion statement in any one of the 43 states where Tasers are legal. The company that makes the weapon, Taser International, has already sold 160,000 less-stylish versions to private individuals. According to founder and company CEO Rick Smith, “Personal protection can be both fashionable! and functionable.”
In November 2006, the Taser infamously broke into the news on campus when a student at the University of Florida, questioning Senator John Kerry harshly, was dragged off, Tased, and subdued by campus police. His plea, “Don’t Tase me, Bro!,” is now the stuff of bumper stickers, T-shirts, and cell phone ring tones. Thanks largely to him and the publicity the incident got, the New Oxford Dictionary made “Tase” one of its 2007 words of the year, the Yale Book of Quotations put it at the top of its yearly list of most memorable quotes, and the rest of us got a hint that something new might be happening in America’s “ivory towers.”
As Michael Gould-Wartofsky indicates below, that incident was just the tip of an enormous homeland-security presence on campus. Gould-Wartofsky’s remarkable report — a piece that the Nation Magazine and Tomdispatch.com are sharing — offers real news about just how deeply the new homeland security state is settling into every aspect of our world. Tom
How to Build a Homeland Security Campus in Seven Steps
By Michael Gould-WartofskyFree speech zones. Taser guns. Hidden cameras. Data mining. A new security curriculum. Private security contractors… Welcome to the new homeland security campus
From Harvard to UCLA, the ivory tower is fast becoming the latest watchtower in Fortress America. The terror warriors, having turned their attention to “violent radicalization and homegrown terrorism” — as it was recently dubbed in a House of Representatives bill of the same name — have set out to reconquer that traditional hotbed of radicalization, the university.
Building a homeland-security campus and bringing the university to heel is a seven-step mission: