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“If they are innocent they should have nothing to fear” Check #1: Alan Turing

“Innocent people are sure to be spied upon, but if they are innocent they should have nothing to fear.” — Jack McCully, August 4 2014

“If you are innocent you should have nothing to fear and you will most probably not be noticed.” — Myrmidon, February 24 2014

“So this is surveillance! The innocent should [...]

Fact Check Update: is Lewiston, Maine Crime-Ridden since the 2001 arrival of Somali Immigrants?

Since I’ve moved to Maine, I’ve encountered a lot of friendly people, but I’ve also heard many derogatory comments about the supposed criminality of Somali immigrants who began arriving in Lewiston, Maine in the year 2001. Last year, I decided to check the claim that Somalis had brought crime to Lewiston against the observed crime [...]

Corporation Hawks $1,000 Bulletproof Blankets for Shootings that Won’t Happen

Coming off the heels of a military contractor selling $400 bulletproof whiteboards to teachers, another corporation is trying to profit off of fear. The ProTecht corporation is selling $1,000 bulletproof blankets for schoolchildren.

Your parents went to school without bulletproof blankets and survived. You went to school without bulletproof blankets and survived. Why do your [...]

What’s the Harm?

As the revealed extent of indiscriminate surveillance and data mining by the U.S. government slowly deepens and widens, the old Cold War defense is rearing its head again: “If you don’t have anything to hide, you don’t have anything to fear.” There are all sorts of broad philosophical problems with that kind of argument, but [...]

While Gun Deaths Decline and Schools Remain Safe, Americans Flip Out

The National Rifle Association has been using the death of a small number of children to try and mandate the use of armed guards in every school across the country. Not coincidentally for a group funded by gun manufacturers, that would require school districts everywhere to buy a large number of guns. But is such [...]

Picture of a Panic: Fear of Crime and Actual Crime

The Gallup Poll does a great job of juxtaposing two trends. On the one hand, we have Americans who are consistently convinced each year that crime has worsened compared to the year before:

And on the other hand, we have actual crime report data from the Department of Justice, which shows that violent crime [...]

Infographic: What They're Saying about the Obama Microchip Consipracy Hoax

Last week, F.G. Fitzer debunked yet another conspiracy theory being spread about Barack Obama. According to rumors spreading in right-wing and libertarian circles, there is a provision in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) that will force Americans to have government-trackable rfid microchips implanted under their skin.

Even a few lower-quality newspapers have [...]

In the 631 Days Since National Terrorism Advisory System Started, Not One Terrorist Alert

Under the old color-coded “Terrorism Alert” system, there was always an “elevated” risk of terrorist attack, kind of like Lake Wobegon, where all the children are above average. But starting on April 7 2011 a new system was put in place in which the United States Government would put away its general colors and instead [...]

School Shootings are Less Likely than Asteroid Hits. No, You Don’t Have to Scare Your Kids.

When I picked up the Bangor Daily News this morning, I read columnist Sarah Smiley insisting that she “had to tell” her children about last week’s school shooting incident in Newtown, Connecticut. Adults absolutely have the right to feel the way they want to feel about the shootings in Connecticut. But do we “have” to [...]

New Kid Danger: Squishy, Bubbling Feet

Those pretty, teeny, tiny, swirly packets of commercial detergent on the shelves in America’s grocery stores are the hottest new consumer product — and a source of peril for America’s vulnerable children.

Nearly 10 people across the country have called the hotline of the National Fashion Association after small children placed the packets on [...]

Who Will Read The Names Of The Thousands Killed By Smog?

We can expect between four thousand and twelve thousand Americans to die every year because Barack Obama refused to institute anti-smog protections required by the Clean Air Act. Do the deaths of these Americans m [...]