Saturday, May 08, 2004

Mark Miller had slept three hours in his parked car after a long night at an anime festival in a downtown hotel.

Then, the call. A number and a voice he didn't know.

"Hey Mark, we're at your dorm," the voice said. "We want to talk with you."

"Who are you?" asked Miller, a physics freshman.

"Law enforcement."

Two men met him in the hotel lobby and flashed badges: FBI. Secret Service. The questions began.

"Do you belong to any student activist organizations?"

"Have you ever thought of joining any student activist organizations, like UT Watch?"

He wasn't an activist. Nor a suspect or the messenger of a bomb threat, for that matter.

What interested the agents, from Austin's Joint Terrorism Task Force, was an open records request he filed with UT administrators for information about the underground campus tunnel system.

Meaning that citizens with no criminal background and no obvious ties to anything are being interrogated for attempts to get information using the Freedom Of Information Act, which is as blatant an attempt to intimidate the populace into shutting up and doing as they're told as I've yet heard.

Look, if you're a cop and somebody's poking around, asking questions that are raising red flags in your head, that's one thing (and, if you're a cop, EVERYTHING that EVERYBODY does is raising a red flag in your head; that's why you're a cop, right?), and you maybe start your investigation, look around a little bit, ask some basic questions. That's...well, that's not cool, but it's your job. But to show up in the middle of the night and put the hard press on some kid to prove, I guess, how big your balls are and just how easy it is for you to fuck with civilians is just a bullshit, bully move.

Hey, here's a clue to all the cops who're checking me out: We hate you for trying to scare us. And when people hate, they react, and they react badly. Don't fall into the trap of thinking that every American is capable of doing something evil on home soil. Don't fall into the trap of thinking that you're the only people who have the power to make things right. You only have the power to do as we tell you, 'cause if you don't we'll push back, and when we push back, you and your bullying bullshit gets thrown out into the cold to fester & die. We care just as much about this country as you do, guy. Maybe more. We're just capable of seeing beyond our own crap.


Okay, well, think about it. I'm sure it'll make sense eventually. Get a non-cop that you trust to explain it to you. If you can find one.

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