Friday, 7 June 2013

My "Wuzzy" Story

Sometimes, you wish Paul Harvey was around to tell a story, but he's not.  I'll pull out my Paul Harvey-tendency and tell this woeful tale.  Bare in mind....it is simply true....maybe stepping notch to the left or right here and there.

So, there's this kid.....probably seventeen....living out of Columbia Heights, DC.  He is what we'd call locally.....a successful failure.

He's passed on the school business....it just isn't going get him to the places he desires in life.  So he's quit.  Thankfully, he's got a buddy or two, who got him into a line of work....distribution technician.  Well....it's not the type of work that you'd put on a resume, brag to relatives about, or figure a long and distinguished career.  We'll refer to him as "Wuzzy".

"Wuzzy" has only a couple of hobbies.  He watches a lot of martial art movies and fights.  He's into trampy gals.  And he's ambitious for greater glory in life.  He can probably do tenth grade math....speak English at the seventh grade level....and has street smarts, but lacks anything beyond that.

"Wuzzy" has a buddy who got into simple delivery.  Here in the DC, Baltimore, Montgomery County, and Prince George's County....we operate a hub.  It's best not to say what type of hub.  Cops and political figures frown on this hub, but it's a bread and butter for guys like "Wuzzy".

So "Wuzzy" picked up a car last week, and drove off to do a distribution run.....to Chattanooga, Tennessee.  "Wuzzy" might be shocked that someone might know this....but he might be shocked over a lot of things.  "Wuzzy" likely took an associate with him.  Maybe a first run for the other guy, or a first run for "Wuzzy"....that part isn't clear.

"Wuzzy" and the buddy go walking....downtown Chattanooga, as the sun is about set and go down.  Darkness is approaching, and the boys are up for some fun.

Around this same time....there's this other guy.....who is going bump into the boys.  He's in Chattanooga for a business situation.  He's been there dozens if not a couple hundred times.  He knows the area.  He's sipped at a few bars, and considers Chattanooga to be relatively safe.  He's not from Tennessee, but that part of the story doesn't matter.

Our third character passes by the boys.  I doubt if he ever noticed them.  But they did notice him.

So as this story goes....it's kinda like some lions out on the plain of Africa.  Three of them.  Two going one direction.....one going the other.

Lions, of the male nature.....tend to bump, and show their 'courage'.  Tough lions, need to appear awful tough when they really aren't that tough.

So the punks turn after passing, and one makes the run at the third guy.  He hits him on the rear of the legs and tosses the older guy down on the sidewalk.  Head first, of course.

The other kid?  He video-tapes the thing with his cellphone.

The guy on the street?  He's down for maybe sixty seconds.  He comes around.  A few people looking. No one coming over.  Most are likely thinking that they'd best head back to the hotel and lock the door til the sun rises in the morning.

The third guy is groggy.  He's likely checking his head first, then checking for blood.  He's feeling for the billfold, which is still there.  No robbery?  He's feeling anger, and questioning what that was about.  Maybe a jealous husband who misidentified him?  Maybe some robbery gone wrong?  Nothing makes sense.

Calling for the cops?  No.  Calling for an ambulance?  No.  Both would have established a record of the event.  But this guy is standing and like most regular guys.....he's just wanting to turn this all into some non-event.  He's alive, still got his billfold, and mostly shocked.  Nothing is making sense though.

He returns back home by Monday.  He will eventually have a regular doctor check him out.  There was a likely concussion but apparently not of a four-star nature.  In some ways....he was simply lucky.

A relative calculates over how this might appear on Youtube.  Well....it's a funny thing.  "Wuzzy" has an account, and eventually posts the video.  Two young lions, wanting to show their 'courage'.  It's there.  Even I've seen it.  "Wuzzy" likely thinks the world is a fairly large place and no one could ever piece together anything much.  He's awful smart, and everyone else....a bit dim.

Action now?  The best you could have hoped is a cop report, an emergency room record, and ID "Wuzzy", and brought to lousy justice to face some minor assault charge, and maybe spend two or three months in some local Tennessee jail.  Then "Wuzzy" buddies would know the guy involved.....find his hometown....and perhaps mark it....like a lion would.  So there's not much here to be gained.

Back to "Wuzzy".  Here's the blunt truth.  He's got this career as a runner and distribution guy which is very limited.  Some delivery point could eventually switch on him....pull a gun, and shoot him down on the streets of Nashville or Birmingham.  "Wuzzy" could screw up driving down the interstate, break down, and have some cop stop to ask stupid questions.  "Wuzzy" could do some heavy PCP stuff, do something stupid on the streets of DC, and get shot by an old high school buddy.  Heck, "Wuzzy" could even have some young lion in a few months who wants "Wuzzy's" route and dumps info for the cops to catch him.

The odds by age twenty-five of being in prison for ten years or being six feet under?  For "Wuzzy", it's better than fifty percent.

Go look around DC and Baltimore today.  There's at least five hundred punks like this on the streets every night.  They sleep all day, come out like vampires at night....get peppered up on some weed and PCP....consume some booze....and act like proud lions in public.  They are all waiting on either prison or death.  Sadly, their girlfriends never figure this out....have a kid or two with them....and wake up in ten years to realize all the losers around them.

Paul Harvey would pause here and try to say some positive over the episode, or "Wuzzy" or society.  The sad truth is that there isn't much of a positive except some older guy realizes the potential threats walking around him, and probably three times more likely to carry a gun, and put a stupid punk kid six feet under when there's barely a suspicion of trouble.

No, it's not our society anymore.  It's an open plain....where the lions are running free.  Unless you fence them in or tote them off to a zoo, or shoot them down, there's not much else.  

So that's the sad woeful tale of "Wuzzy".  A loser, bound and determined be dead sooner than most folks....one way or another.

The Jest of the Verizon Story

It takes a few moments to lay out the whole Verizon and US government story.

First, back when we started to get into trouble in Iraq (after the invasion), and there were various groups aiming harm at American soldiers.  What we quickly adapted into....was an intelligence gathering machine.  We got into the telephone network (internet, land-line, and cellphone).  Once we knew primary players, we looked at who they were communicating with.

We connected the dots.

So time passed, and because of threats on American soil, we convinced a bunch of Senators and Congressmen to approve the same type of open door strategy.  It would appear that some felt it meant that you'd collect against individuals after you identified the actual target.

But this curious thing occurred.  The internet companies, the land-line folks, and the cellphone crowd.....didn't have any intention of keeping records for years and years. They didn't want to pay for storage, and it didn't have any value.  So usually....after a couple of months or a max of one year....they purged it.

So the government went to plan "B".  Every quarter, by law, they went to a judge and demanded another download.  The judge signed the paperwork, and the companies had to comply.  No one wanted to admit this in public.

Well....someone connected to Verizon finally told the story to some British news reporter.  Yes, it wasn't the New York Times or Washington Post....they've mostly let go of their investigative reporters.  Same for NBC, CBS, or ABC.  Sixty Minutes mostly does 'puff-pieces', and isn't capable of any investigative analysis.  We needed the British to put this out into the open.

Where does it go?  There's a fancy new NSA site in Utah, with massive storage capability and probably the most air-conditioned facility in America today.  Their electrical bill has to be huge.

What are they getting?  Everything.  If you use a cellphone....it notes the time, the location of your call, and who you are calling.  Skype sessions?  They probably get the locations of the two ends, and perhaps even a recording of the whole talk.  Chat on the internet?  They know both parties, the chat itself and the locations.  Email?  Same story.

The problem?  Over the past two weeks....this IRS candle has burned extremely bright.  IRS was supposed to be independent and not affected by political players.  That trust is gone.  The NSA folks?  For all these years, they were collecting data on foreign folks and no one cared about the independent nature of the NSA.  Now?  It was like someone flipped a switch and they just got active holding data on US citizens.

What should we do?  The truth is....we fear Muslim fanatics....to such an extent....that we are willing to give up our general freedoms.  The data collected, if kept in storage and never connected to the outside world....might just rest there for years, and decades.  Ninety-nine percent might never be touched.

So I should suggest a simple fix.  The President needs to appoint a federal judge to actually sit at the site for a period of twelve to eighteen months.  The Senate would confirm that guy, and he'd be sent to Utah and paid a fairly good sum of salary to preserve the peace.  Every piece of data that enters the facility....stays there.  Anyone desiring to access it?  You have to physically appear in front of the judge and explain the cause.  You get an access terminal and are overseen by audit folks.

Any political hacks pretending to be in the midst of an intelligence episode?  Automatic arrest, and up to thirty days of detention allowed.  A minimum sentence of eight years would likely scare most political folks away.  At the end of appointment period, that federal judge leaves and is replaced.

The comical side of this?  When you call the beauty parlor, NSA knows it.  When you call your cousin in Tampa.....NSA knows it.  When you chat with your Peruvian mystery woman....NSA knows it.  When you exchanged emails with college gal from USC....NSA knows it.  When the spam email came from Nigeria came to you announcing your uncle's death and the possibility of property inheritance.....NSA knows it.

All of this bothers some folks.  It's like when Spider-man's dad tells him one day....'With great powers....come great responsibility'.  Are we responsible enough to handle this much information?

The Trouble with Blanks

I've tried to make sense of this.....for most of the day....and it still bothers me (in a logical way).

Deep in this entire sequestration business, it all came out that the Homeland Security guys have a vast contract with bullet makers....for hundreds of millions.  This contract business has driven out all business for regular gun owners, with the massive amount of bullets that Homeland Security desires.  But hidden deep into this.....is this one requirement.  25,000 rounds of blanks.

That's a lot of blanks.

The way they will use them?  No one explains that.

Maybe in hostage training situations?  Maybe for video-production situations?  Maybe for the guards at the Homeland Security facility in DC?

Well, you just don't know.

I imagine there's a chief of some department, in charge of blanks.  One guy.  It's probably called the "Blanks Shop".  He probably sips coffee all day....talking up blank this and blank that.  Some guy will call from an Homeland Security office in Texas, and by lunch....a shipment of 300 blanks get shipped off to this guy.

Maybe there's some logic to this, but you just wonder who signed off on such a massive purchase.