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01/09/2004 Archived Entry: "United States of Hysteria"
I don't know what's funnier here: that Dell Computer asks export customers if they're going to use the product for WMD, or that a "yes" answer apparently doesn't stop the order from being processed. (I had to see this myself to believe it.)
Not to be outdone, the folks at Staples pushed the panic button when a mom tried to buy a copy of the Microsoft Flight Simulator game for her ten-year-old son. The staff was "obeying advice." One wonders what advice.
Perhaps the advice came from the FBI, who have been warning police to be on the lookout for individuals carrying almanacs or maps. Goodness knows there's no peaceful use for such things. Especially if "annotated in suspicious ways."
Welcome to the United States of Hysteria. As The Register observed, "At one time it was rare to find US citizens, in the safest and most prosperous country in the world, jumping at their own shadows. Now we only note how high."