IN THE WIND
In almost the entirety of the time humanity has occupied earth, disappearing on this planet has never been more difficult for human beings to accomplish than it is right now. Where do you go to get truly ‘off the grid?’ Nowhere. Nowhere, and still expect to survive with any comfort or sanity, that is, and for any length of time. It’s not likely Osama Bin Laden remained where he was, or anywhere on earth, without the real authorities who wanted him not choosing to overlook where he was, for whatever reasons. There is no ‘off the grid’ anymore, and there has not been for some time. People need to use credit or debit cards, cell phones, computers, iPads and more. At the very least, the people around the people who don’t want to be found have to use those things. The NSA is so sophisticated today, in listening in to almost all communications in the world, written or spoken, that its algorithms are good enough to follow a trace that’s as wispy and ephemeral as somebody’s name, or someone’s realized thought patterns in an email or phone call. And the email or the phone call does not have to have the person hiding out participating in it. It is purported that Osama Ben Laden was finally found because someone providing services to him (so he could stay out of all checkable communications instruments) was himself overheard, and then followed back to the lair Osama was hanging out in.
The very few individuals who manage to elude the police or other authorities for any time are referred to as fugitives. The state those people are in, when they are as yet undetected, is called being ‘in the wind’. In all earlier periods of human development, it was possible for people to run away. To disappear. To be in the wind for the rest of their lives. The simple reality of that kind of unspoken freedom, and the potential of experiencing that form of freedom, helped make the world a much more adventurous and productive place. Not productive in terms of economic gain, trade or even technological advance. I am writing about the freedom of humanity to experience living without being absolutely accountable and responsible for every act participated in since birth.
It has not been overlooked, and history has not failed to record, that Australia and America were both initially populated by human beings who were rejected by the societies they were born into. These humans were sent to far away places to get rid of them, because they were deemed either too unproductive, or too liberal to follow society’s rules established to control them, and therefor were a threat. Those people were tossed out of their countries, but many of them were running from those countries, as well. That collected mass of seething, broken, tattered, defiant and criminal humanity experienced the freedom of starting all over again. Those who failed again in the East of America, or the shoreline developments of Australia, went west to the other coast or to the outback, to start over, yet again. The end of human success was never an end. It was a restart, and that word could become plural. In the north of America, the phrase “Gone to Texas” was coined for those who failed and took off to head south, down into the territory of Texas. Starting over was accepted and it’s allure continued unabated.
Today, in developed countries and many not so developed, there is no starting over. Credit reports, once limited to going back seven years in a person’s financial life, went first to ten years, and then twelve, and today are forever. Traffic violations, once recorded and then dropped after three years, are now forever. Criminal records, many reported and actionable only inside the state’s where the crime or infraction occurred, are now available in every state, and even allied countries. If a U.S. citizen has ever been arrested for drunk driving, there is no passing into Canada anymore. Not convicted, but simply arrested. The Canadian’s, since the ‘advances’ in security after 911, now get all those records instantly. The Canadians turn away tens of thousands of Americans from their border every year. In America, a felony is forever (being convicted of a crime that has a possible sentence of one year or more in prison…and it does not matter if the person went to prison or not). A felon cannot possess a gun, hold public office, be a lawyer, realtor or get most jobs that pay more than minimum wage. Period.
There is no living ‘in the wind’ for people who’ve had bad credit, or a criminal record of almost any sort. Unknowingly, at the point where their information was entered into the great large computer system symbolized by the Internet, they are screwed for life.
How did human life come to be so immutably, indelibly and draconically harsh? It happened as an accidental effect of the electronic communications revolution of the last forty years, and also by competition. Humans compete in a deathly race each and every day, hour, minute and second against one another. All humans in that race will vote and promote punishment for other humans (their competitors), no matter how harsh those punishments, if it will take them out of the race. Using Wisconsin as an example; incarceration of prisoners was going down in this state until 2007. All of a sudden incarceration surged up fifteen percent in the last ten years. This is nothing, more or less, than taking potential competitors out of the race. Yes, there is crime, the breaking of rules humanity makes so that it can live in reasonable safety and order, but crime in Wisconsin, although dramatically decreasing over the course of the last thirty years (by nearly 35% through those years) has somehow resulted in a three hundred percent increase in incarceration. How is that explainable when taking the the actions of criminals into account? It’s not. The unspeakable competition takes care of all that. The lies about criminals, and the isolation and upheaval of news stories intensely covering certain specific crimes, has aided the competitors.
Some of the national depression all Americans are living in today, without admitting it, is caused by the simple fact that there is no place to get away to, anymore. And even more important, there is no place ‘imaginable’ to get away to anymore. For the population, particularly the American population, to live in the bliss experienced by so many in the short period following WWII, for example, living in the wind must again be brought into at least a dreamed of possibility for the entirety of the public. The Christian religions, particularly those that ascribe to the Bible as a work of the Lord’s word in scripture, understand that after death there will be a true and full accountability. Has the scripture been translated and interpreted correctly? Might those words, with only a slight modification or juxtaposition really read “death is the result of a true and full accountability?”
~ James Strauss