Signs Of The Time

Signs Of The Time, Part 76

This morning, I was talking to the assistant manager of my parents’ condo building not too far from Chicago’s West Side. I’ll call this guy “Bookman,” one of my favorite characters from the TV show Good Times. Bookman’s from the area, and a couple of years older than me. From the exchange:

BOOKMAN: Have you been following what’s going on Missouri?
EDITOR: Yeah.
BOOKMAN: I think it’s going to blow up.
EDITOR: You mean, like a replay of Rodney King?
BOOKMAN: No, like after Martin Luther King was shot.
EDITOR: Oh, you mean the 1968 riots on the West Side.
BOOKMAN: Yes- but all over the country.

Interesting. Hope he’s wrong. But I’ll be keeping an eye out for any signs of coming widespread unrest.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Signs Of The Time, Part 75

In an era of stagnant wages and a rising cost of living, having a job doesn’t guarantee an individual can make ends meet.

In the past, many Americans would rise to the challenge, finding and working a second or third job if that’s what it took to put food on the table.

These days, it’s just easier for able-bodied, able-minded men and women to latch onto the government “tit” rather than work.

And plenty do it- no doubt about that.

Enter Scott Carroll. A minor league baseball player when he shot the following two-and-a-half years ago, this Kansas City, Missouri-native proclaimed to the world he would do whatever was required to eke out a living:


“Scott Carroll Will Endorse ANYTHING!”
YouTube Video

Okay, so Carroll was just having a good time and probably wasn’t hurting as much as many other Americans as a professional baseball player. But there’s still an important lesson to be taken away from this funny video:

Scott Carroll just recently made his big-league debut for the Chicago White Sox at age 29.

I doubt his TV pitchman skills got this right-handed pitcher to where he’s at today.

Hard work, perhaps?

Welcome to the majors- and Chicago- Mr. Carroll.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Signs Of The Time, Part 74

Any readers know who Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez is?

He was the young man charged with the attempted assassination of U.S. President Barack Obama back in November 2011 when he fired shots at the White House. Thankfully, no one was hurt in the attack.

The other day, I spotted this on the legal news site LawyerHerald.com. A staff writer reported Tuesday:

According to a Bloomberg report, an Idaho man has been sentenced to 25 years in prison after pleading guilty to firing an assault rifle at the White House from his car. 23 year-old Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez admitted to shooting at the White House from his car. His lawyers claimed in a memo to presiding US District Judge Rosemary Collyer that their client has the misguided idea that his action would make the public aware that an Armageddon is coming and that Ortega-Hernandez has no intention to hurt anyone nor President Barack Obama…

Ortega-Hernandez’s lawyers had asked Collyer to hand down only a 10-year jail sentence for their client…

According to the memo submitted to Collyer for a reduced sentence, Ortega-Hernandez allegedly fell under the influence of survivalists following a childhood where he has been living in many places and saw his parents separated…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Ah, it was the survivalists’ fault.

Apparently, Judge Collyer didn’t buy that argument.

But it was only a matter of time before someone demonized preppers/survivalists again after the Sandy Hook shootings.

Remember what was being said back then about one of the first victims of the violence- Nancy Lanza? I blogged on December 17, 2012:

I’ve come across two more web articles that don’t paint the modern survivalist movement in a positive light.

In fact, some might argue they’re attempting to connect prepping with the Sandy Hook school shootings.

From The Telegraph (UK) website yesterday:

Connecticut school shooting: Adam Lanza’s mother was preparing for disaster

The mother of the gunman who killed 20 children and seven adults in America’s worst school massacre, was a gun-proud “survivalist” preparing for economic collapse, it has emerged.

Nancy Lanza, whose gun collection was raided by her son Adam for Friday’s massacre at Sandy Hook school, was part of the “prepper” movement, which urges readiness for social chaos by hoarding supplies and training with weapons.

“She prepared for the worst,” her sister-in-law Marsha Lanza told reporters. “Last time we visited her in person, we talked about prepping – are you ready for what could happen down the line, when the economy collapses?”

And then there’s this from The Independent (UK) site this morning:

Mother of Sandy Hook school gunman Adam Lanza was a ‘prepper’ survivalist preparing for economic and social collapse, say reports

Friends and family have portrayed Mrs Lanza as a paranoid ‘survivalist’ who believed the world was on the brink of violent collapse.

“Paranoid.” Regrettably, preppers and survivalists should expect more of the same from the establishment politicians, their “presstitutes,” and low-information supporters going forward.

Whereas I- not a prepper but gleaning ideas and knowledge from them- see these individuals for the most part as simply wanting to carry on with their lives and look after themselves, loved ones, and friends in the event of an emergency or disaster.

Did I mention that by their actions they free up police, fire, and other public safety agencies to attend to those who for some reason or another failed to prepare for a major crisis?

Paranoid, or actually patriots?

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

“Court hands out a 25-year prison sentence on White House shooter.” Lawyer Herald. 1 Apr. 2014. (http://www.lawyerherald.com/articles/5175/20140401/court-hands-out-a-25-year-prison-sentence-on-white-house-shooter.htm). 4 Apr. 2014.

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Signs Of The Time, Part 73

Regular readers of this blog might remember that I used to reside on the Northwest Side of Chicago. When my girlfriend and I first moved into that so-called “suburb in the city” almost a decade ago, a number of our personal belongings were stolen almost right off the bat (plant delivery left in building vestibule, steel Coleman cooler in indoor parking garage, Sunday Tribunes galore).

Consequently, my sister declared at a family gathering that I had moved to the “ghetto.”

Some individuals might have taken offense to that. I reveled in it. In fact, “Ghetto Superstar” is my “handle” on a number of Internet forums.

Some years later, I informed my sister that I might be sending her a package in the mail. She responded that might not be a good idea since some neighbors in her building had delivered parcels go missing.

Alas, the ghetto had arrived at her doorstep too (albeit at the foot of the Rocky Mountains).

Last week, I stopped by my parents’ place in the west suburbs. My mom shared with me that some recent deliveries to their building had been stolen. Thankfully, none of those packages belonged to my parents.

Still, back when I lived in the “ghetto,” that’s where I had my stuff shipped to, thinking it was a safer destination than my Chicago address.

It was. Up until now, it appears.

Damn thieves…


YouTube Video

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Monday, March 31st, 2014 Crime, Security, Signs Of The Time No Comments

Signs Of The Time, Part 72

If there’s one thing the growing masses donning rose-colored glasses despise, it’s gold.

Gold stocks included.

Myra Saefong reported over at the MarketWatch website this morning:

Many major gold companies have lost at least half their value this year after a more than 25% plunge in gold prices, but analysts aren’t convinced that miners have hit bottom — and tax-loss selling may further the declines.

The Philadelphia Gold and Silver index XAU lost 51% as of Thursday year to date and the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs index XX:HUI declined 57%. Shares of Barrick Gold Corp. ABX, the world’s largest gold-mining company, has dropped by 56% this year.

Among exchanged-traded funds, the Market Vectors Gold Miners GDX, which provides exposure to publicly-traded companies involved primarily in gold mining, sank this week to its lowest level in about five years. It’s down 55% this year.

The losses for the gold miners aren’t much of a surprise given the hefty declines in gold prices, which are poised to log their first loss in 13 years. But shares of the gold miners have suffered a drop that’s roughly double the year’s price loss for the metal.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

For many of those who recognize the true economic health of the nation and larger financial system and consider the so-called “sheep” as reverse indicators, the precious metal probably looks mighty attractive right now.

Downright gorgeous for plenty of veteran gold mining stock investors, I’d have to guess.

After all, it can be argued gold’s fundamentals really haven’t changed much since recent times when the gold price was up significantly higher.

Which brings to mind the following. Almost exactly a year ago, The Wall Street Journal published a surprisingly bullish article about gold stocks. Brett Arends wrote back on December 7, 2012:

In Gold Investing, Forget the Metal and Focus on Stocks

Want to buy some cheap gold? Consider gold-mining stocks.

Shares of the leading precious-metals companies have lagged behind the price of physical gold bullion so steeply in recent years that they now trade for significantly less than the value of the companies’ gold reserves, say analysts. In fact, the gap is among the widest ever seen, analysts say…

I wonder what the folks over at the Journal think about “paper gold” today?

Sequel, Mr. Arends?

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s note: I am not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein.)

Source:

Saefong, Myra P. “Gold miners drop over 50% with no bottom in sight.” MarketWatch. 6 Dec. 2013. (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/gold-miners-drop-over-50-with-no-bottom-in-sight-2013-12-06). 6 Dec. 2013.

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Signs Of The Time, Part 71

There’s talk this week in the mainstream media about a “new” game that certain teenagers are playing with increasing frequency these days:

The “Knockout” game.

New game my butt. That violent attack is old news here in the Chicagoland area. Kim Janssen reported on the Chicago Sun-Times website back on July 16, 2012:

Three teenagers accused of killing a 62-year-old father-of-12 in West Rogers Park were playing a game called “Pick ‘em out and knock ‘em down” when they videotaped themselves punching him in the face, prosecutors say.

Malik Jones, 16, Nicholas Ayala, 17, and Anthony Malcolm, 18, were caught after the video of Jones fatally punching Delfino Mora was posted on Jones’ Facebook page, according to authorities.

The three were playing a “game where the offender picks an innocent victim and knocks him out by striking him and likely robbing him as well,” Assistant Cook County State’s Attorney Terry Clancy told Judge Israel Desierto in court Monday.

Anyway, back to new instances of this “game” being played. Chris Lingebach reported on the Washington D.C. CBS website on November 16:

A terrifying new ‘game’ that’s already caused deaths in Syracuse, St. Louis and New Jersey is sweeping the nation, and it preys upon unsuspecting people walking the streets, anywhere.

A recent report from New York-based CBS 2 shed light on the growing trend, displaying unsettling footage of teens participating in this game – which goes by the name ‘Knockout’ – and involves randomly targeting passersby, with the ultimate goal being to knock them out with one punch as they walk by.


“New Jersey Teens Attack People With Knockout Game!!!!”
(Warning! Graphic Violence)
YouTube Video

Little turds. I hope the victims in these attacks weren’t messed up too bad and had speedy recoveries.

In addition, I wonder if more “street smarts” and situational awareness wouldn’t have changed the outcome of these incidents?

Sources:

Janssen, Kim. “Prosecutor: Teens killed man in ‘knock ‘em down’ game.” Chicago Sun-Times. 16 July 2012. (http://www.suntimes.com/13817699-761/prosecutor-teens-killed-man-in-knock-em-down-game.html). 20 Nov. 2013.

Lingebach, Chris. “Potentially Fatal ‘Knockout’ Game Targeting Strangers May Be Spreading.” CBS DC. 16 Nov. 2013. (http://washington.cbslocal.com/2013/11/16/potentially-fatal-knockout-game-targeting-strangers-may-be-spreading-to-d-c/). 20 Nov. 2013.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Wednesday, November 20th, 2013 Crime, Public Safety, Self-Defense, Signs Of The Time No Comments

Signs Of The Time, Part 70

You may have heard of the following wacky story out of the Nisqually Indian Reservation some 60 miles south of Seattle. Eric M. Johnson of Reuters reported yesterday:

A 93-year-old Washington state man, whose dog returned home with a human leg it had found, buried it in his back yard on an Indian reservation to avoid being suspected of a crime, a local official and media reports said…

Bill Flowers picked up the leg brought home by his dog, Liberty, and thought of calling the police, he told KOMO-TV at the weekend. But fearing they would suspect him of foul play, he buried it in his backyard, where it remained for several days until he told his daughter, who urged him to call the police.

“I was afraid to call. I’m 93 years old. I didn’t want to have to go to the pen for something I didn’t do,” Flowers told the television station.

Many people will probably just dismiss this story as being another one of those weird tales frequently encountered on the Internet.

However, I find it disturbing that a 93-year-old-man is afraid to contact local law enforcement about his pooch’s gruesome find.

“I didn’t want to have to go to the pen for something I didn’t do.”

A case of someone watching too many movies/too much TV, or is this how Americans have come to view the police?

All I know is, what’s shown on the nightly news doesn’t exactly conjure up images of “Officer Friendly” for those on Main Street:

Shemagh Cop

Is that a shemagh that sheriff’s deputy is wearing?

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Johnson, Eric M. “Dog finds human remains, owner buries leg in backyard.” Reuters. 12 Nov. 2013. (http://news.yahoo.com/dog-finds-human-remains-owner-buries-leg-backyard-094716764.html). 13 Nov. 2013.

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Some Blog-Related Matters

Sorry for not posting any new material Tuesday. The fact is, I was busy contemplating some matters related to Survival And Prosperity. Regular readers may have noticed that blogging has been somewhat sporadic, current events-oriented, and Chicago, Illinois-centric for some time now. This was not my intention. While it would be easy to blame my newly-found homeowner responsibilities, a myriad of other projects/tasks, and those unforeseen challenges/setbacks that have a tendency to pop up in life when we least expect (let alone need) them, at the end of the day the responsibility for publishing a decent weblog that provides useful information related to “protecting and growing self and wealth in these uncertain times” rests squarely on my shoulders.

And lately, I’ve “dropped the ball.”

Going forward, look for blog posts not only being published Sunday through Thursday again, but bright and early in the morning. While I’ll still discuss current events, new posts will be released from the “Project Prepper” series along with other financial and personal safety information that readers might be able to utilize. I’ll also be reintroducing the different series of posts special to this blog. As such, a “normal” week of blogging should look like this:

Sunday- “Quote For The Week,” “crash prophet” activity, other posts
Monday- “Project Prepper,” other posts
Tuesday- Media review (movies, TV shows, books), other posts
Wednesday- “Signs Of The Time,” other posts
Thursday- “Resource Of The Week,” other posts

As for those Chicagoland-centric posts? Well, those will continue, although they won’t make up the bulk of what’s published. On a side note, there’s just been so much bad news coming out of the “Windy City” and “Land of Lincoln” lately I’ve been compelled to write about it in hopes local readers understand what’s at stake. A lot, if you ask me. For this audience, I’ll be exploring the different avenues available to them for making the best of their unfortunate situation that’s been decades in the making.

One last thing. I’ve received a ton of messages via the blog contact page. For some reason, viewers of the various prepper/survival-themed shows on TV these days are messaging me thinking I’m either the person they saw on TV or have their contact info. The contact info requests I get, but the other? Anyway, I’ll be working hard whittling away at my inbox. Your patience is really appreciated.

That’s it for now. As always, please don’t hesitate to contact me should you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions related to Survival And Prosperity.

Christopher E. Hill
Editor

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Signs Of The Time, Part 69

As I sit here in my frontroom, waiting for the kids to emerge from their homes to start trick-or-treating once the rain subsides in this part of the Chicagoland area, I wanted to share something I found in the local community college mailer I got this week. Under the section for the Emeritus Program (older students) in the Oakton Community College Spring 2014 course catalog:

Here are some unique and entertaining classes offered this spring…

Keeping Your Spirit Alive While Civilization Is Collapsing

“Keeping Your Spirit Alive While Civilization Is Collapsing”

Interesting. Just “tongue in cheek,” or is instruction actually premised on the notion that civilization is on the decline?

Once more information is released about next semester’s classes, I’ll get back to you.

In the meantime, Happy Halloween!


Ministry, “(Every Day Is) Halloween” (1984)
YouTube Video

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Thursday, October 31st, 2013 Education, Signs Of The Time, TEOTWAWKI No Comments

Signs Of The Time, Part 68

Speaking of the Dallas Fed, did you know that its President and CEO, Richard Fisher, owns a sizable amount of gold and other metals? At least he did in 2010. Charles Riley reported on the CNN Money website on August 28:

Financial statements released from 2010 show Dallas Fed president Richard Fisher owned more than 7,000 acres of land, $1 million in gold and as much as $250,000 in uranium.

Gold isn’t the only precious metal this member of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) owns/owned. According to the Gold News Blog on the website of New Orleans-based rare coin and precious metals firm Blanchard and Company back in February:

Mr. Fisher, a constant siren on the subject of inflation, owns at least $1 million in gold, and smaller quantities of platinum and uranium, popular investments for those who fear inflation.

A central banker that’s sitting on a butt-load of gold and some other metals. Think there’s a message to be taken away from this?

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

Riley, Charles. “The Fed’s millionaires.” CNN Money. 28 Aug. 2013. (http://money.cnn.com/2013/08/28/news/economy/federal-reserve-wealth/). 10 Sep. 2013.

“Dallas Fed Reserve chief owns at least $1 million in gold.” Gold News Blog. 27 Feb. 2013. (http://www.blanchardonline.com/investing-news-blog/econ.php?article=5572). 10 Sep. 2013.

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Signs Of The Time, Part 67

Throughout the years, I’ve heard Chicago-area residents- teachers included- talk about how screwed-up Chicago’s public school system is.

I am not a “product” or employee of the system, so I really can’t pass judgement either way.

However, after reading the following on the CBS Chicago website this morning, a clearer picture emerges as to why critics might think this way about the CPS:

Some people may think a five-year old is too young for sex education.

Administrators with Chicago Public schools do not.

New to the curriculum this year, mandatory sexual and health education for kindergarten classes.


CBS Chicago Video
ANY CHARACTER HERE

Back in September 2012, the U.S. Department of Education found 79 percent of Chicago Public Schools 8th graders are not grade-level proficient in reading and 80 percent are not grade-level proficient in math.

Perhaps CPS administrators might want to steer their kindergarteners’ focus more towards reading and math instead of sex ed.

Just a thought.

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

“CPS Mandates Sexual, Health Education For Kindergarten.” CBS Chicago. 29 Aug. 2013. (http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2013/08/29/cps-mandates-sexual-health-education-for-kindergartners/). 30 Aug. 2013.

Jeffrey, Terence P. “U.S. Department of Education: 79% of Chicago 8th Graders Not Proficient in Reading.” CNSNews.com. 10 Sep. 2012. (http://cnsnews.com/news/article/us-department-education-79-chicago-8th-graders-not-proficient-reading). 30 Aug. 2013.

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Friday, August 30th, 2013 Education, Main Street, Signs Of The Time No Comments

Signs Of The Time, Part 66

I don’t care what Uncle Sam says- costs seem to keep rising almost everywhere I look.

For those just beginning to prep, the price of gear and supplies these days are probably pretty daunting.

To conserve funds, many preppers/survivalists might want to take a “needs versus wants” approach to acquiring these things.

Thankfully, there are plenty of businesses around in 2013 to cater to them for necessities.

And with over 3 million preppers/survivalists in the United States, there’s billions of dollars to be made.

John C. Ogg wrote on the website of New York City-based financial news and opinion organization 24/7 Wall St. earlier this week:

Whether they prepare for long or short-term emergencies, at the very least survivalists plan to have the basic necessities: food, clothing and shelter. Many prepare for much more than the basics with self-defense and security measures, power systems, water filtration, communications and bunkers. Given their numbers and their willingness to spend money, catering to doomsday preppers has become a multibillion dollar business. Regardless of which item is being considered, each $1,000 of expenses for just 1 million people comes to $1 billion.

Ogg went on to identify “the industries making the most money on doomsday preppers.”

Prepping. Not only does it benefit you and your loved ones- but American businesses as well.

You can read the rest of the insightful piece on the 24/7 Wall St. website here.

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Signs Of The Time, Part 65

Back in the spring I stopped by the hardware store I frequent when I’m at my family’s place in Wisconsin. I was talking to the guy who was staffing the sporting goods section that day (and who’s also the resident gun guru from what his fellow employees tell me). He had just gotten off the phone with an ammunition supplier who had always come through for him in the past. This being only a couple of months after the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, the Great Guns & Ammo Panic of 2012-13 was still in full throttle. Anyway, “Scott” told me that his usually-reliable supplier wasn’t able to provide him and the store what they needed this time around. A first, from what I gathered.

Now, Scott and the hardware store will survive because they sell a lot more than just bullets. But what about the small gun stores who deal primarily in just firearms and ammunition? What would happen to them if enough inventory was gone, with no hope of resupply for months, and the bills started to pile up?

Apparently, a number of those gun shops go out of business. From Carley Gordon on the website of Nashville NBC affiliate Channel 4 last night:

For months, many Tennessee gun owners have had a hard time finding ammunition for their weapons. Now, some gun stores say a nationwide ammo shortage is pushing them out of business.

WSMV Channel 4
“Gun Shops Closing”
Channel 4 Video
ANY CHARACTER HERE

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Signs Of The Time, Part 64

You may have heard about the homecoming queen with a gun in the 80s.

Now there’s this story of an alleged bomb-throwing beauty queen out in Riverton, Utah. From Salt Lake City’s FOX 13 News website earlier this week:

A beauty queen and her friends are in trouble with the law after authorities say they made and threw explosive devices in Riverton…

Late Friday night, cops found several water bottles with aluminum fragments and chemical residue at two homes near 13800 South and 4100 West. The suspects reportedly threw these homemade bombs onto driveways then sped off.


“4 charged for throwing explosive devices from car”
FOX 13 News Video

I hear director Robert Rodriguez of Grindhouse, Machete, and Sin City fame is in town this week for Wizard World Chicago Comic Con. I may have to drop by and pitch this story to him as the basis of a new movie.

Blonde Bombshell: Bomb-throwing beauty queen takes out her competition- and then some.

Soundtrack by various artists, Rockabilly Radio.

Yep. Blonde Bombshell. The movie. You heard it here first.

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Thursday, August 8th, 2013 Crime, Humor, Public Safety, Signs Of The Time No Comments

Signs Of The Time, Part 63

I can’t help but think a number of Americans who get wind of the following story will think twice about using Google. Hey, I like their products (wasn’t too thrilled when their auto-fill feature debuted on their search engine however). But I’ve got to wonder what kind of red flags I myself might be sending up with my searches related to my research on financial and personal safety topics and this blog, besides other goofy stuff I happen to be looking for.

I know. Don’t ask. Or is it don’t tell?

From Michele Catalano, former music contributor at Forbes and a freelance writer published in The Magazine, Maura Magazine and at Boing Boing, in a post on Medium.com earlier today:

It was a confluence of magnificent proportions that led six agents from the joint terrorism task force to knock on my door Wednesday morning. Little did we know our seemingly innocent, if curious to a fault, Googling of certain things was creating a perfect storm of terrorism profiling. Because somewhere out there, someone was watching. Someone whose job it is to piece together the things people do on the internet raised the red flag when they saw our search history.

Most of it was innocent enough. I had researched pressure cookers. My husband was looking for a backpack. And maybe in another time those two things together would have seemed innocuous, but we are in “these times” now. And in these times, when things like the Boston bombing happen, you spend a lot of time on the internet reading about it and, if you are my exceedingly curious news junkie of a twenty-year-old son, you click a lot of links when you read the myriad of stories. You might just read a CNN piece about how bomb making instructions are readily available on the internet and you will in all probability, if you are that kid, click the link provided.

Which might not raise any red flags. Because who wasn’t reading those stories? Who wasn’t clicking those links? But my son’s reading habits combined with my search for a pressure cooker and my husband’s search for a backpack set off an alarm of sorts at the joint terrorism task force headquarters

(Editor’s note: Bold/italics added for emphasis)

The rest of Catalano’s account, if factual, is rather disturbing. You can read the rest of it here on Medium.com.

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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