Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Fuck Daesh, but Let's Not McCarthy This.

I tried to make multiple statements with this Vociferation. The statement I hope is most clear is the utter disgust and contempt I hold in my heart for Daesh.

I also wanted to say something about Climate Change because of the upcoming Cop21 summit.

My main focus of course, was to criticize the way this tragedy has been used to push expanded surveillance. I felt ambivalent about writing this issue. My heart is with the victims of the Paris attacks. I love Democracy, I love my country. I'd like to express solidarity.

I decided to speak out, however, because I think my opposition against the ongoing deterioration of our civil liberties is perhaps an even greater expression of my love of both Democracy and my fellow countrymen.

I myself paused to question whether or not this is the proper time. I have come to the conclusion that it must be the right time. As we have seen after 9/11, any emergency measures we put into place now will endure long past the immediate crisis. If we are talking about a fundamental change to our constitutional rights which will change for generations then we must have a debate about it's consequences.

I also do not think countries win wars by giving into fear. They win it instead through steely resolve, by dodged determination and making the difficult decisions rather than the easy cosmetic ones.

There is little evidence to suggest that the Paris attackers used encryption. There is little evidence that if we went after domestic companies and forced them to encode backdoors into their software that Daesh would not simply use some other program by a company not under our government's jurisdiction. I would also guess that an operation as sophisticated as Daesh could simply make their own encryption software.

Evil men will always find a way to hide their wicked intentions, and if we placed backdoors into our communications software, it would only serve to enable cyber criminals to steal our data and open our citizens up to another kind of terror.

Western governments must be wary of giving away their civil liberties as an alternative to showing resolve and making the difficult choices.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Keep Cops Out of Schools

I struggled with this one, because I did not want it to be a criticism of police. I wanted to do the school to prison pipeline, because I've followed it for years and people seem to think it is a new thing.

The bigger issue with the school to prison pipeline is not the cops to me, though. It is a society that prescribes police as the solutions to problems where other measures would be more effective.

The primary job function of school administrators is to deal with disciplinary issues. They traditionally deal with issues like theft and assault. I don't see why we need school resource officers. Columbine had both school resource officers and security cameras. It seems like a feel good solution that in reality does nothing except make people feel safe at the expense of civil liberties. Barring isolated and tragic incidents, schools today are safer than they have ever been and it is a trend which began before the extra security measures.

Even if schools must have school resource officers, I don't think they should be called upon to deal with routine matters of discipline. An administrator should be able to handle an uppity kid.

I think authoritarianism only diminishes respect for authority. That, and as soon as you remove the supervision, kids will just misbehave. The goal is to teach kids good values and to foster their maturation into good citizens. I'm not saying that kids should get away with disrupting class or being disrespectful. I just don't think that they should be slammed to the ground or handcuffed.

Something lost in our national conversation about this is that there is much middle ground between being Draconian and just letting kids do whatever they want. A large middle ground.