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Maxed out

This Bud’s for us

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When the only tool you’ve got is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. We all have hammers. Some of us keep them in our toolboxes. Some of us keep them in our head. Some of us live our hammers so fully, they’re the filter through which we see the world. For this latter group, the whole world is a nail.

It’s easy to get caught up in our hammers. Psychiatrists themselves get shrunk by other psychiatrists. There are a couple of reasons for that. Know thyself is a pretty good rule when your life’s work is helping other people get in touch with themselves. It also helps keep you from thinking the entire world is crazy just because the slice of it you work with every day arguably is.

Cops see perps, accountants see debits and credits, columnists see story ideas, mogul skiers see bumps, developers see opportunity on undeveloped land, lawyers see whatever they’re paid to see. The wheels go ’round and ’round.

So why is it not surprising when a security consultant sees threats, conspiracies and violence everywhere he looks?

In the biggest self-promoting, scare tactic to trail along behind — in front of — the 2010 Olympics, a security consultant has rung the alarm bells and called for an all out effort to infiltrate social activist groups lest we be overrun by organized anarchists.

Organized anarchists?

Kind of reminds me of the time a colleague, in the throes of an early Alzheimer’s moment, shouted out, “Hey, how do you spell anarchist?”

“Anyway you want,” I replied.

Organized or not, anarchists or social activists, they seem to all be violent terrorists to Thomas Quiggin. Security is his hammer and everyone who doesn’t lead a placid, Stepford-like existence seems to be his nails. And boy, are those nails ever getting their act together for the Olympics.

Not unlike Olympic athletes, who are training obsessively to best their opponents, activist groups as diverse as anti-poverty groups, native rights groups, extreme environmentalists, anti-globalization advocates and yes, even anarchists, are perfecting their “network-centric warfare” in anticipation of the world stage rolling over Vancouver and Whistler in 2010.

Network-centric warfare?

Sniff, sniff… sounds like consultant-speak to me. Not surprising for someone who can enumerate no less than 19 violent attacks in Canada to date perpetrated by Olympic protestors. Not surprising for someone who believes tagging the Olympic countdown clock in Vancouver with spray paint constitutes a violent act. And exactly what is a paint bomb? A hurled balloon full of paint?

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