A sign of the times? Police in Oslo wondered “how could this happen?” The body of a man dead for nine years was found in December 2020. The discovery was made by a maintenance worker entering for a necessary repair. Materials found in the premises indicated the death occurred in April 2011. An autopsy determined the cause of death was due to natural causes.
The government had stopped sending his pension payments in 2018 due to no response to attempts to communicate with the deceased. Norwegians speculate the case highlights the effects of technology increasing anonymity. One researcher noted that all expenses for the person were paid automatically from his bank account and concluded it’s possible nobody noticed.
William Bendix as Chester A. Reilly in the ’50s radio sitcom The Life of Reilly would proclaim, “What a revoltin’ development this is.”
The eyes of Texas were upon us—at least one pair, that is. The FBI arrested a 28-year-old Wichita Falls resident who had cooked up an elaborate scheme over several months to blow up an Amazon data center in Ashburn, Virginia, in order to disrupt the nation’s Internet service.
In the usual skilled fashion of a home-grown terrorist, the young man ranted on his Facebook account about the Democratic Party and “people in power” who “changed society in a way that no longer served the American people” and showed support for former President Donald Trump, according to excerpts provided in the complaint.
The master planner attracted an informant whom he told about his scheme to paint his silver auto black before driving to Virginia, where he would switch license plates and then repaint the vehicle silver to confuse law enforcement. At a meeting with the informant and an FBI undercover agent posing as an explosives supplier, the suspect appeared in a freshly painted black auto. The suspect was arrested a few days later and a search by the FBI found hand-drawn maps and notes detailing his plans, as well as wigs, masks, a pistol painted to pass as a toy gun, a sawed-off AR rifle, and a machete.
Sadly, the not clever bomber-in-waiting is not old enough to have watched the 1960s Get Smart TV series to have learned something about black bag operations.
What might have passed unnoticed years ago is no longer a fact of life in the age of instant news and the Internet. This is especially true of events involving public officials. Opinions, whether personal, political, or professional, in virtually every context may so test the outrage meter that head shaking follows.
In response to the remarks of one legislator opposing a bill on voting, a GOP colleague had these words to offer:
“I feel personally that motives were arraigned of members, including myself, with regards to colored people, Black people, whatever people this individual wants to single out in their ability to vote, and I think it’s incorrect. I think he should be sat down and he shouldn’t be allowed to speak.” (Emphasis added.)
It’s one thing to be behind the times or even of a certain age where racially hurtful language emanates from the mouths of political babes, but this expression is an attention grabber. What was at stake?
The debate ensued over a bill that would purge voters from a Permanent Early Voting List if the voter failed to vote in two consecutive elections. It was estimated that 200,000 people could be purged upon passage of the bill. Opponents argued that those who signed up for the list had opted to receive absentee ballots for all elections — and a whopping 3.2 million voters in the state are on the list, according to estimates.
Even sizable stakes do not justify crude and cruel epithets, much less a demand to be seated.