Like most daily, weekly, or monthly columnists, I keep a file folder full of things that have caught my attention and might make fodder for this monthly column. Here's my thoughts on some assorted stuff in and out of the news.
A Great Terrorist Tool
I love to turn on the Maps and the Google Earth function on my iPhone and show my friends in North Carolina the headquarters of POLICE Magazine in Torrance, Calif. Google Earth is a lot of fun.
It's also the greatest intelligence tool that we have ever provided to our enemies. As fast as he can say "Death to America," your average terrorist in Pakistan can scope out high-value targets all over the United States using these Web-based satellite images. He can see oil refineries, chemical plants, police stations. It's no coincidence that the Mumbai terror teams used Google Earth to map out their plan.
Google says these satellite images are in public domain so they can be acquired elsewhere. That may be the case, but do we have to make it so easy for our enemies to get this stuff? I don't care about "Mr. Death to America" viewing my house on the Net, but I worry a lot about him being able to check out the huge oil refinery that's less than a mile from POLICE Magazine's home office.
If you're concerned about Google Earth, write your representative in Congress and your senators and ask them to address it. Yes, Google Earth doesn't show sensitive military installations, but it's still a great intel tool for terrorists.
It's a Crime
On Feb. 22, the New York Times ran an editorial in which it stated that illegally entering the United States "is not a criminal offense." On March 5, the so-called "paper of record" ran a correction in which it acknowledged that illegal immigration is indeed a criminal offense, a federal misdemeanor.
This is significant not because the New York Times made a mistake. All publications, all blogs, all TV news shows make mistakes. And, yes, we make them here at POLICE, and we own up to them.
No, the significance of this correction is why the New York Times made this mistake. It was not an error of haste, or an error of fatigue, it was an error of ideology. The New York Times clearly believes that we should have open borders and that anyone who wants to come here can ignore the law and just jump the border. This is more than just a minor journalistic error. It is clear evidence of an agenda.
What's the Rush?
I'm not sure where I stand on the Stimulus spending. I've lived through at least three recessions. The worst one was in the early 1980s when I graduated from college and unemployment was even higher than it is today. We didn't throw trillions of federal dollars at that recession, and we came back very strong. But maybe this recession is different because of the banking crisis, and the spending is wise.
However, I have to say that one thing that disturbs me about the Stimulus spending is that we are doing it so fast. The deadlines for the Stimulus spending are immediate. I'm not sure that's a good idea. I understand that President Obama wants to get the economy moving as quickly as possible, but maybe we should slow down and give a little more thought to where the money is going.
Fortunately, as you will read in "Washington Turns On the Money Tap" (POLICE, April, 2009), some of it is going to law enforcement. But I will guarantee you that much of it is going to less urgent and less intelligent needs.
On March 10, Michael McLendon went on a shooting spree in two rural Alabama towns. He killed nine and then he killed himself after a gunfight with law enforcement.
Driving down the street in the town of Samson, he shot people at random, including the wife, 18-month-old daughter, and three-month-old daughter of Geneva County Sheriff's Dep. Josh Myers.
Andrea Myers, 31, and Corinne Gracy Myers, 18 months, were killed. Three-month-old Ella Kay Myers was wounded in the leg and is expected to recover.
Dep. Myers later told reporters, "It's supposed to be me getting shot, not my family."
Keep Dep. Josh Myers in your thoughts, and, if you are so inclined, in your prayers.