The NSA Dropped the Ball Again

NSA Dropped The Ball Again

It’s happened again. An unthinkable lapse in security has cost us our safety. But in order to fully comprehend the inherent dangers we have just survived, we need to understand exactly what it is we mean by these words. Google searches yielded the following definitions:

noun: security; plural noun: securities
1.
the state of being free from danger or threat.

noun: safety
1.
the condition of being protected from or unlikely to cause danger, risk, or injury.

I think we can all agree this last weekend we were well past “being free from danger or threat.” For most, the mental scarring alone will take years of therapy to work through, and some may never recover.

The worst part of it is there is no excuse, not when we now have protections in place. We have a security dragnet so wide it covers the whole world—at least virtually speaking.

I mean, c’mon, by now we all know about the monitoring. The words and acronyms have become ubiquitous: NSA, PRISM, ECHELON, TEARS for FEARS. I hesitate to say surveillance state, it sounds so George Orwell, and that’s like so . . . 1984. Even when the Will Smith movie Enemy of the State came out, the overall reaction was, “Cool action movie, but it’s just tin-foil hat conspiracy theory craziness.” And that was in 1998. But here it is 2013, and we’re running out of tin foil, because it’s all actually happening—surveillance, monitoring, call it spying if you must. And apparently no one is immune: teachers, blue collar workers, politicians, judges, jury members–probably even those coaches on The Voice are all seeing their privacy fade away. We thought we had real freedom in this country, but if those people are all being spied upon, what chance do any of us normal citizens have?

And yet even with the closest scrutiny, things fall through the cracks. Even after 9/11. Even now. Because you can’t save everyone, right? I get it, even if Russian intelligence agencies notified the FBI that Tsarnaev and his brother could pose a threat to national security in this country, what could the FBI really do? Tsarnaev? I can’t even pronounce that. And so what if some guy from Aurora, Colorado stockpiled more than 6,000 rounds of ammunition, apparently acquiring most of it online. It’s not like you can track people’s Internet search histories, or page-views, or cross-reference that with their credit charges. We simply don’t have the technology. For that, you would have to build a behemoth data center, say in Utah or some such place, with rooms the sizes of warehouses filled with hard drives where you could store all that data. Oh wait, they’re actually building something like that right now.

And you might say, “Hey, that was before all these Snowden leaks about the NSA were released. That was before.” But one would have to be silly not to think that this has been happening in some form for a very long time. Besides, how obvious does it have to get? The Aurora guy must have left a paper trail longer than any of the 49ers rushing touchdowns so far this preseason.

Which brings us to this last weekend. The incident was simply unforgivable. There were many aspects to the horrors that left no one watching unscathed. And it all should have been foreseen. We can accept no excuse, not this time. There had to have been emails, Power Point presentations, cell phone calls, recordings with detailed plans. And it all slipped right through the cracks.

Maybe it was time; maybe it had to happen. Some things can’t be stopped. But what can we tell our children? What do we tell their sad little faces when they ask us why we allowed NSYNC to get back together? And that’s just the beginning. I don’t even know what twerking is; I’m afraid to even Google it. That’s one of those searches that might lead to some dark part of the deep web, where even Redditors fear to tread. There is a reason why some things are labeled NSFL: Not Safe For Life. Meaning: no one should be seeing this.

We can’t face the question nobody wants to ask: Did the government know about this, and allow it happen anyway? Did the government know the truth about the VMAs? We will never know; regardless, with all the resources they have at their disposal, they should have shielded us from the horribleness that took place Sunday night. We should never have been subjected to such a spectacle, such an abhorrent display that flies in the face of all that is holy.  As a society, I don’t know how we will recover from this, but one thing remains certain: NSYNC must never be allowed to reunite again.

Never again.

And if Marky Mark ever gets back together with the Funky Bunch, I don’t think I can live in this country anymore.

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