From Creative Loafing, a disturbing story about Marc Schultz, an ordinary guy who had the FBI show up and start questioning him on account of something someone saw him reading in a Starbuck’s. This wasn’t terrorist activity. It wasn’t sedition. He was just reading an article while he drank his coffee:
I’m nervous now, wondering how I must look: average, mid-20s, unassuming retail employee. What could I have possibly been carrying?I have to wonder what kind of idiot thinks people who read left-wing articles are automatically suspect, and phoned in the tip to the FBI. Here’s the offending article.
Trippi’s partner speaks up: “Any reading material? Papers?” I don’t think so. Then Trippi decides to level with me: “I’ll tell you what, Marc. Someone in the shop that day saw you reading something, and thought it looked suspicious enough to call us about. So that’s why we’re here, just checking it out. Like I said, there’s no problem. We’d just like to get to the bottom of this. Now if we can’t, then you may have a problem. And you don’t want that.”
You don’t want that? Have I just been threatened by the FBI? Confusion and a light dusting of panic conspire to keep me speechless. Was I reading something that morning? Something that would constitute a problem?
The partner speaks up again: “Maybe a printout of some kind?”
Then it occurs to me: I was reading. It was an article my dad had printed off the Web. I remember carrying it into Caribou with me, reading it in line, and then while stirring cream into my coffee. I remember bringing it with me to the store, finishing it before we opened. I can’t remember what the article was about, but I’m sure it was some kind of left-wing editorial, the kind that never fails to incite me to anger and despair over the state of the country.I tell them all this, but they want specifics: the title of the article, the author, some kind of synopsis, but I can’t help them — I read so much of this stuff.
I also have to wonder what the bleep the FBI thought they were doing. It didn’t matter what Schultz was reading. Unless it’s grossly offensive, he has the right to read it.
These are the guys who’re supposed to be enforcing our laws? (via Linnea Anglemark)