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Odd dreams - Habemus plus vis computatoris quam Deus
Ramblings of a Unix ronin
Odd dreams

I had an odd but interesting dream last night.

It started out with me someplace in the desert Southwest, maybe Arizona or New Mexico, dinking around with a bunch of salvaged/surplus hardware and stuff I'd built myself, and, well, basically I built an energy cannon.  I don't know how it worked, but it was hot enough that it fused sand under the beam into glass, and it left some nice puddles of molten rock at the base of a mesa a mile or so downrange.  I test-fired the thing a couple times, then figured I ought to shut it down before I attracted too much attention or started a brush fire or something.

Next thing I know, I'm being woken up at oh-dark-thirty by a Secret Service protection detail toting M16s, they've set up a defensive perimeter,¹ and they're saying "Sorry to wake you in the middle of the night, sir, we have to move you to a safe location NOW.  We're not the only ones who figured out what you built yesterday and tracked you down, and there's unwelcome company incoming."

[1]  Minor edit since it seems it needed clarifying that the M16s were pointed outwards...

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Current Location: Gilford, New Hampshire

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mr_spock From: mr_spock Date: November 7th, 2011 02:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think my reply would have been, "There's unwelcome company already here! Now, please leave. I'm a private citizen and you have no right to be here against my wishes."
unixronin From: unixronin Date: November 7th, 2011 02:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
A valid viewpoint, and a sound argument. But in this case, as the dream went, I was pretty happy to be evac'd by a protection detail, considering that the alternative was to most likely have been still asleep in my bed when the cruise missile flattened the house twenty minutes later. There were several players involved, at least one of them apparently taking the attitude of "If we can't get our hands on him, let's make sure nobody else does either." There are downsides to becoming a strategic resource overnight.

If police in riot gear knock down my door in the middle of the night wanting to arrest me, I'm going to be pretty displeased. But if a Secret Service protection detail shows up, throws a defensive perimeter around me, and politely says, "I'm sorry, sir, we have to move you NOW", I'm likely to assume for the moment that they have a pretty good reason.

(Oh, I should make it clear: The M16s were not pointed in my direction. They were pointed outward.)

Edited at 2011-11-07 06:31 pm (UTC)
johnkzin From: johnkzin Date: November 7th, 2011 03:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
On the other hand, a sophisticated police state would/could use that against you. Especially now that you've stated this "vulnerability*" in public ;-)

(* the vulnerability being "if you act as though you're protecting him, he'll come quietly, and be unprepared for the fact that you've actually just taken him into custody")
unixronin From: unixronin Date: November 7th, 2011 04:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
True, there is that risk.

On the other hand, I think the odds are pretty small of me ever actually inventing anything that would suddenly make me a plausible subject for Secret Service protection :) So I think the risk is minimal.

(Besides, the Secret Service are different. Those guys have their own culture. They have integrity. They are trustworthy.)
mr_spock From: mr_spock Date: November 7th, 2011 05:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
"Besides, the Secret Service are different. Those guys have their own culture. They have integrity. They are trustworthy."

Eh, what have you been smoking today. I want some. Seriously - the Secret Service answers to whomever the POTUS happens to be, and don't even question their oath (most, if not all, are former military, and swore to support & defend the CONSTITUTION of the United States against all enemies, foreign AND DOMESTIC).* When was the last time you heard of an elected official being "outed" as an enemy of the Constitution? Believe me, there are plenty of them, but they don't get called out.

*emphasis mine

Edited at 2011-11-07 09:17 pm (UTC)
unixronin From: unixronin Date: November 7th, 2011 06:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
That's a little of an oversimplification. Their duty is to the OFFICE of the President, not necessarily to the man in that office. And they will protect him even if they secretly despise him, because to protect the officeholder, in order to protect the office, is their duty. They are not Just Another Bunch Of Militarized Federal Thugs. The former military guys are generally the type you can most safely trust - they know the real meaning of "uphold and defend the Constitution". The FBI/DEA/BATF etc culture leads to sociopathic Rambo wannabees like Lon Horiuchi. You don't find them in the Secret Service.
mr_spock From: mr_spock Date: November 8th, 2011 02:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
Right there is the conflict. They are told that their duty is to protect the office holder - but it actually is possible *ahem* that the office holder, though elected, IS THE ENEMY. Would any of them actually arrest, or if necessary kill, the elected POTUS to defend the Constitution? I highly doubt it.
unixronin From: unixronin Date: November 8th, 2011 06:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
I imagine it would depend a lot upon what he did, though I also imagine it would have to be something pretty drastic for his own protection detail to use deadly force (which is to say, I imagine he would have to pose a clear and present threat to the safety of the nation as a whole on such a timescale that there was no time to do anything BUT shoot him). However, should it come to such a point that the President were clearly and visibly not in possession of his faculties and unable to fulfill the responsibilities of his office, I can quite see the VP suddenly finding himself being addressed as "Mr. President."
lonewolf545 From: lonewolf545 Date: November 7th, 2011 06:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
Their culture is to do ANYTHING necessary to protect their principal, without regard to anybody else's rights. These are the bozos who thought the dummy missiles on the rails of a British ship conducting a memorial for a deceased shipmate were pointing too close to Michelle Obama's hotel room and tried to order the British Navy to turn their missile launcher (in South Africa, IIRC). They've been known to arrest people on bogus charges just to get them out of their way, knowing that the people would be released as soon as they saw a judge, but also knowing that they have near total immunity to prosecution.
(Deleted comment)
unixronin From: unixronin Date: November 7th, 2011 07:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
You make a number of good points. Please consider this single acknowledgement to apply to all of them. :)
perspicuity From: perspicuity Date: November 7th, 2011 08:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
you melted a mesa? was it black?

also, mesas are protected by law, don't go melting them ;)

amusingly, protecting yourself from the cruise missle and all comers would have been amusing...

unixronin From: unixronin Date: November 7th, 2011 08:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
I imagine the melted bits were probably pretty black after they cooled. ;)
fatcook From: fatcook Date: November 7th, 2011 09:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, man! I really hope you didn't toast any of the Hopi mesas. USSS won't be able to protect you from bunch of pissed off Kachina.
unixronin From: unixronin Date: November 8th, 2011 06:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
*chuckle* :)
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