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Wanted: More Snoopy Americans
"Postcards from America - Postcards from Israel" ^ | August 2, 2011 | Norma Zager

Posted on 08/03/2011 8:06:23 AM PDT by Ari Bussel

Wanted: More Snoopy Americans By Norma Zager

“The most powerful force in the universe is gossip.” Dave Barry

As a child I watched Bewitched. One of the characters in the show was Gladys Kravitz, the nosy neighbor who excelled at diligently spying on the Stevens’ residence.

As such she saw much more than she ever anticipated, to the chagrin of her long-suffering husband and her own mental health.

Her character was intended to portray that one neighbor or family member constantly watching, snooping and collecting information; the local gossip in residence or GIR.

Today the New York based Gladys Kravitzes actually have a mantra. “If you see something; say something.”

Recently in Texas another terrorist crazy with a Jihad handbook on homemade bomb building planned the death of unknown innocents as they went about their daily lives. He is being described as that most dreaded of all crazies: a homegrown terrorist.

What does that mean?

That means that with the constant lack of new manufacturing in America, we seem to be producing, with no problem whatsoever, our own insane crop of people anxious to carry out Jihad against the U.S.

In any missing child story on the news, there is a quote from law enforcement asking for the “public’s help” in finding the victim. There are even Amber Alerts to help citizens catch bad guys.

Why is that?

Simply put, because that strategy works.

Gladys Kravitz is always out there watching.

A savvy gun storeowner who noted the guy’s “odd” behavior and purchase foiled the new Fort Hood nut case’s plan. He was buying gunpowder and asking how to use it. It struck the owner odd he would be buying so much of a product he knew nothing about. Guess this guy knows his customers. Thank goodness for us he does. One report said he was going to target people at a restaurant. I wonder where it is written in the Quran to kill the infidels as they are ordering a Happy Meal.

Seems risky for our country’s security to be suddenly dependent on snoopy, suspicious Americans. Or is it really the best of all circumstances we could hope for?

Last year the-would-be Times Square bomber was brought down by a vendor who noticed his unusual behavior and the car he left parked on the street.

There is however a conundrum for Americans. There is bad gossip and good gossip. How do Americans discern between the two.

The advent of blogs spreading false and hate filled information has leaked into the mainstream media and lies are being spread at an alarming rate.

How is it possible for people to accept gossip and snooping as legitimate? What is the barometer by which to judge worthwhile information?

I suggest using your own eyes and ears, and your Dragnet expertise. As Jack Webb repeated each week, “Just the facts, Ma’am.”

Yes, it is impossible to know what is truthful on the Internet. It is not impossible to spot a crazy with your own eyes.

Guilty people act suspiciously and present significant “tells.” After all, these people are actually gamblers, betting they can kill and maim others.

When someone leaves their car and looks suspiciously around them before they walk away, hmmm.

So what are these so called tells? How can you know someone is lying?

That’s easy, just watch politicians, they are the gold standard for liars. Okay, defense attorneys are a good second best to politicians.

Perhaps we should have “who broke the vase courses” for Americans taught by mothers. Or teach how to spot a liar in schools? Any mother can enter a room with a broken vase on the floor and instantly identify the guilty party. It is usually the child trying hardest to look innocent that she hones in on. And of course, years of gut instinct at work.

There are Israeli methods that have proven so successful in a country rife with homicide bombers. Israel’s counterterrorism strategy comprises of a variety of elements and is a multi level approach, including citizens. They use intelligence collection and analysis and the average Israeli is highly aware of suspicious packages, individuals, and their actions and immediately notifies police.

“If you see something; say something.”

This works because using only common sense and powers of observation, ordinary Israeli citizens prevent more than 80% of attempted terrorist attacks.

Of course the Israelis also use military and paramilitary operations to disrupt terrorist infrastructure. I would like to believe the U.S. is engaged in this methodology, but so far I only know about everyday Americans who have spotted these crazies and stopped them cold.

I wouldn’t expect the CIA to send out a daily list of the terrorists they catch and kill. I am not certain how well that information would go down with our morning dose of Starbucks and a blueberry scone.

Israeli security is adept at spotting dangerous airline passengers. About one percent of travelers are flagged because they are on watch lists. If they seem nervous at the checkpoint, answering questions, or their behavior arouses an officer’s suspicion, they act on it.

If someone is suspicious, do they simply pat them down or wave a joy stick around them? No.

Suspicious people are taken into an intensive screening that lasts about an hour. This includes a personal interview, search of all carry on bags and use of state-of-the-art explosive detection equipment. Even if someone passes the test and there is still any suspicion, the Israelis may allow the person to board a plane, but they seat an armed sky marshal near them who watches them throughout the flight.

Israelis also do behavioral profiling.

Of course the American airports cannot handle such techniques due to sheer volume and a lack of military training of the screeners. And let us not forget the politically correct mantra of the American populace that is against any type of ethnic profiling.

But ordinary citizens can.

If you are standing in line behind someone sweating heavily, that keeps checking to see if an underwear bomb is in tact, could be a sign something is far from kosher.

And I am not suggesting paranoia overtake us; just our common sense.

I have read some suggestions to improve our security. One is based on the principle of reverse profiling. When a ticket is purchased, the Transportation Security Administration would run the passenger’s name through a computerized, government-wide terrorism watch list containing data collected by the FBI, CIA, and other agencies. No database like that exists at this time, but it would enable screeners to focus more closely on those who arouse some suspicion.

If someone is flagged, their carry-on bags and checked luggage would be carefully searched.

Another suggestion already being implemented is using a traveler’s card for frequent flyers that have passed background checks. This would contain a biometric identifier (like facial or eye scans or fingerprints, etc.) with the names stored in a special databank.

These are a few of the methods I have personally seen bandied about, but personally, when I stand in line at airport security, I am diligent and watching other passengers for any weirdo or suspicious behavior. Well, even more than usual anyway.

And I am hoping someone is watching me as well. So much for fearing Big Brother!

With the horrible economy we are experiencing in the United States today, Americans do have a new job. Flushing out terrorists and the payment is saving lives.

I guess this new American profession won’t pay the bills or stimulate the economy, but it is one at which we must all excel in this new age of insanity.


The series “Postcards from America—Postcards from Israel” by Ari Bussel and Norma Zager is a compilation of articles capturing the essence of life in America and Israel during the first two decades of the 21st Century.

The writers invite readers to view and experience an Israel and her politics through their eyes, Israel visitors rarely discover.

This point—and often—counter-point presentation is sprinkled with humor and sadness and attempts to tackle serious and relevant issues of the day. The series began in 2008, appears both in print in the USA and on numerous websites and is followed regularly by readership from around the world.

© “Postcards from America — Postcards from Israel,” August, 2011 Contact:

First Published August 2, 2011

TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Government; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: airportsecurity; behavioralprofiling; dhstsa; profiling

1 posted on 08/03/2011 8:06:30 AM PDT by Ari Bussel
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To: Ari Bussel

We already have a nation of do gooders and snoops and they are all in the beaucracy already epa, tsa, fcc, etc. also batfe. And every home owners association...

2 posted on 08/03/2011 8:18:37 AM PDT by goat granny
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To: Ari Bussel

Be careful what you wish for.......

3 posted on 08/03/2011 8:25:03 AM PDT by nuconvert ( Khomeini promised change too // Hail, Chairman O)
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To: Ari Bussel
In the soviet union, east germany, Nazi occupied europe, communist China under Mao, etc. all "good citizens" were encouraged to turn in their neighbors for doing things that the state might not want. Every one of these tyrannical police states derived part of their hold over the people from malicious busybodies* snooping on their neighbors. They get a thrill out of causing trouble for their neighbors and fellow citizens. Is this what we want for the USA?

*like the type of people you find running for office in homeowners' associations.

4 posted on 08/03/2011 8:28:32 AM PDT by from occupied ga (your own government is your most dangerous enemy)
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To: Ari Bussel

More HOAs = less terrorism

5 posted on 08/03/2011 8:36:07 AM PDT by LearsFool ("Thou shouldst not have been old, till thou hadst been wise.")
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To: Ari Bussel

"Psst! There's a communist living in the White House
and a megalomaniac lesbian running Homeland Security."

6 posted on 08/03/2011 8:37:48 AM PDT by Iron Munro (The more effeminate & debauched the people, the more they are fitted for a tyrannical government.)
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To: Ari Bussel

7 posted on 08/03/2011 8:45:19 AM PDT by Oztrich Boy (New gets old. Steampunk is always cool)
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To: Ari Bussel

"Leave me alone. I'm retired."

8 posted on 08/03/2011 8:50:35 AM PDT by Oratam
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To: Ari Bussel

9 posted on 08/03/2011 8:55:20 AM PDT by _a_0_0_
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To: Oztrich Boy

That’s what I thought it was about too. I agree.

Good shortstop too.

10 posted on 08/03/2011 8:55:39 AM PDT by massgopguy (I owe everything to George Bailey)
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To: Ari Bussel
I will NEVER forget a part of a TV show I saw when I was very young (preschool age).......a bright little girl was praised in her school class for reporting that their parents had a secret “radio” with which they listened to “other places”. She came home one day to find her mother hanged in her house, the radio gone. Wish I could recall and find it, to share with you all. Most of you can probably already envision situations similar to this becoming possible.
11 posted on 08/03/2011 8:58:19 AM PDT by GreylineRider ( Raised to respect "truth, justice, and the American way".)
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To: Ari Bussel

Gladys Kravitz lived in a different time. People are now much more transient. You don’t often have the same neighbors for years and years, often times they barely know you. And the women generally work outside the home and so are not around to snoop on you all day. Plus if you did notice something but the neighbor in question was wearing a hijab you’d be terrified to speak out. I think such a plan is doomed to fail.

12 posted on 08/03/2011 9:03:48 AM PDT by Buckeye McFrog
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To: GreylineRider

Talk to virtually anyone who grew up in an East Bloc country and you’ll hear that secret radio story. If your parents were listening to shortwave the radio was well-hidden and you were constantly admonished not to tell anyone. But at school they were always goading you to report such activity in exchange for praise and prizes. It put many young children in a very difficult bind.

13 posted on 08/03/2011 9:06:58 AM PDT by Buckeye McFrog
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To: nuconvert

14 posted on 08/03/2011 9:11:21 AM PDT by dfwgator
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To: Ari Bussel

There are two sides to this.

About 6 years ago I took a trip to NYC. We were in a hotel overlooking Ground Zero. We took a walk over towards the departure point for the ferry to the Statue of Liberty. There was a viewing platform painted pitch black located right next to the Holocaust museum looking out onto the water. On that platform was a pitch black suit-case. There was no-one in sight. It was amazing that I even noticed the suit-case. Perfect camouflage!

See something - say something!

I reported the suit-case to the nearest officer. First time in NYC that it took me a few minutes to find one! I’m not sure if it was anything at all. I had a ferry to catch.

So there are two attitudes you can choose to adopt from this “policy.” The first is the Gladys Kravitz approach, the other is the Israeli approach! I’ll choose door number two and keep a watchful eye open for things suspicious!

15 posted on 08/03/2011 9:16:34 AM PDT by fremont_steve
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To: Ari Bussel

There’s a line, and I’m not sure I can define it exactly, but there’s a line between normal and sensible awareness of genuine suspicious behaviour... and full-on brown-shirted paranoia. We can certainly be alert for serious risks without bringing on Big Brother. We must, in fact.

16 posted on 08/03/2011 9:24:40 AM PDT by Ramius (Personally, I give us... one chance in three. More tea?)
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To: Ari Bussel

“I wonder where it is written in the Quran to kill the infidels as they are ordering a Happy Meal.”

Especially now taht it’s “healthy.”

17 posted on 08/03/2011 9:35:49 AM PDT by TBP (Obama lies, Granny dies.)
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To: Ari Bussel

“I wonder where it is written in the Quran to kill the infidels as they are ordering a Happy Meal.”

Especially now that it’s “healthy.”

18 posted on 08/03/2011 9:35:56 AM PDT by TBP (Obama lies, Granny dies.)
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To: Buckeye McFrog
"Gladys Kravitz lived in a different time."

Actually, Gladys Kravitz is alive and well, living right across the street from me.

19 posted on 08/03/2011 9:41:43 AM PDT by Joe 6-pack (Que me amat, amet et canem meum)
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To: GreylineRider
True story : My mother visited Germany and Austria a few years ago as part of a "senior tour" , mainly to see this passion play that only gets presented once a decade or thereabouts. While over there, the tour guide told a story about life in East Germany, circa 1970s/1980s:

Seems her mother had one of those short wave radios, and she was (IMO) a bit of a narcissist : The mother made little attempt to conceal her ownership of the radio, because she thought she was so clever no one would find out. Wrong! No one-not the mother, or her children-was executed (I don't recall if the radio was or was not seized) , but the mother's "anti social" behavior was recorded, and all her children were not only prevented from getting a higher education despite excellent grades, they were only allowed to get the most menial jobs available-all in retaliation for the mother's actions. Per the tour guide, the mother complains about how her friends all have children who are earning decent money and have at least reasonably prestigious jobs...And her children have decided to protect her from the knowledge of how her own actions way back before the fall of the Berlin wall continue to impact their lives today, as those "lost years" cannot be relived. At least they survived.

20 posted on 08/03/2011 9:50:06 AM PDT by kaylar (It's MARTIAL law. Not marshal(l) or marital! This has been a spelling PSA. PS Secede not succeed)
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