Are we really in a Prison Planet?

First of all, I have learned through my magic blog analysis thingy The Collaborative Compound has followers.  I want to take a moment and thank each and every one of you who chose to follow this blog.  Your support keeps me going.

It’s been a crazy week for my entertainment law business.  Two of my clients are ready to go on a Food Network show called “Restaurant: Express.”  It’s going to be a pretty nifty endeavor as they compete under the watchful eye of Chef Robert Irvine for the chance to win their own restaurant.

You can find more about it here: http://www.foodnetwork.com/restaurant-express/index.html

Now onto some entertainment topics by way of the NFL…

There’s this guy named Alex Jones who runs a site called Infowars.com and PrisonPlanet.com.  He’s a bit of a nutter in my book, and I tend to think he over-exaggerates his own material at times.  If you’ve never heard of him and you’re a conspiracy theory type you’re going to love this man.  He tends to make it seem as though we’re living in some form of a prison-inspired state, where we slowly give up our rights, don’t question authority, and submit to all manner of freedoms being removed in an attempt to keep us “safe” and “secure.”

I used to dismiss this guy.  Now I’m beginning to get worried he’s right.

I used to work criminal defense quite a bit.  I still go to a jail occasionally for a child support client who hasn’t paid his or her tab and needs legal advice after being incarcerated for failure to pay.  If you’ve not seen the inside of a jail or prison, it may sound familiar in certain circumstances.  Correctional institutions require you to:

1. Follow orders spoken by men and women with badges, without question.

2. Walk in straight lines, in groups, without causing a ruckus.

3. Remove your shoes at times.

4. “Consent” to searches of your person and effects.

5. Limit the amount of personal belongings you carry with you.

6. Present your Identification when asked.

In case you’re wondering where I’m going with this, these are pretty much the same things we go through at airports as common fare.   We are conditioned to do these things in the name of “security” and “safety.”  We are told these rules, and the people who enforce the rules, keep us “safe” and there will be repercussions for those who do not follow said rules.

It’s getting even more ridiculous.  Now, the NFL has started in with a campaign of “safety” and “security” all their own–and it deals with women’s purses.

If you are of the fairer sex, you may no longer carry your purse or handbag to an NFL game.  You must purchase a clear plastic “purse” at the game for the purposes of security.  It will be searched, despite being see-through.  You will also be wanded for potential metal objects that can be used as a weapon and your person searched for dangerous contraband.

I heard about the NFL purse policy through a couple of sports blogs I frequent.  It struck me as odd, and I dismissed it quickly as a joke given the Internet’s general tendency to publish ridiculous garbage and pass it off as fact.  I found it even more likely as silliness since videos started circulating called “My Purse, My Choice”–named after the “My Body, My Choice” campaign.

You can view that video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C8HCZd2HFfw&noredirect=1

The troubling thing about all this is that it’s real.  A colleague of mine recently attended an NFL game and was subject to the new purse restrictions. She had to buy a clear plastic bag the size of those we use for our airline liquids to carry her essentials into the game.  She was wanded through security.  On top of all this, the attendant at the concessions stand kept the cap for a bottle of Coca-Cola purchased at the game!

Because–y’know–Coke caps are weapons when used in the right manner.

I get the rationale from the government, I really do.  NFL games are high risk targets when it comes to potential terrorist acts.  We cross the line from “security” to “ridiculously stupid,” though, when we tell women UNILATERALLY they can’t carry their purses into the game.

Oh, but you can purchase all manner of bags from the team’s pro store:

http://www.nflshop.com/Tennessee_Titans_Women_Bags

What happens when you buy one of these bags?  Do you have to take it immediately to your car?  Will you be ejected from the game if you buy a purse from the team store, take the goods out of your clear bag, and place them in your newly purchased Minnesota Vikings handbag?

This is starting to make Alex Jones look sane, people.  And the worst part is we say “Why?” instead of “No.”

Look, I get the rationale.  And I get the fear.  I will never forget what happened on 9/11/2001.  I will remember the fear in people’s voices, I remember the uncertainty in the days to come.  And that fear gave us the Patriot Act, and justified the initial erosions of civil liberties for the sake of “Safety” and “Security.”  Twelve years later, now private sports organizations are getting into the picture.  When do we stop and say “NO?”

We need to remind ourselves the government serves US.  We need to remind ourselves private business organizations like the No Fun League exist because we give them money.  The day we allow our freedoms to be eroded by everyone flaunting authority is the day we lose something that makes our nation great.

Oh wait…

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