An Assembly of Pieces

James Anderson Merritt's piecemeal thoughts and observations, and the occasional attempt to put some of the pieces together.
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All material except cited quotations Copyright (C) 2004-2008 by James Anderson Merritt. All rights reserved.
Thursday, February 07, 2008
Homeland Security Violated My Privacy

Lots of things have happened in my life, keeping me too busy to attend to this blog. Since I am probably just talking to myself here, I guess I will apologize only to myself for that.

I just wanted to note for the record that I received evidence today that my privacy had recently been violated by Homeland Security. I love the taste of rum cream, and I can only get that true, original rum cream flavor by importing bottles of Sangster's Rum Cream from Jamaica. (The only domestic rum cream brand I could find, Cruzan, tastes like Double Bubble bubble gum, and nobody -- not even BevMo or specialty liquor stores I have visited -- import Sangster's or any other rum cream from Jamaica or elsewhere.) I have been ordering rum cream from Jamaica, once or twice a year, for some time. (Customs restrictions only allow three bottles per shipment, so don't go thinking that I pick up pallets of the stuff, down at the docks.)

Today's box-o-rum-cream arrived, with tape on it, which declared that it had been opened by the Department of Homeland Security. Inside, I saw that one of the actual bottles had been opened, presumably to verify that it didn't contain a bomb, bomb-making materials, or drug contraband (seeing as the shipment was from Jamaica, after all).

Now, I know that the US asserts the authority to inspect incoming luggage and freight for a variety of reasons, but I don't have to appreciate the violation of privacy. More important, however, is the fact that, once opened, rum cream must be stored under refrigeration and thereafter consumed in short order, to preserve freshness and the drink's proper flavor. By opening that bottle of rum cream, our government agents tainted a third of my shipment, and started its expiration clock ticking, much like the time-bomb they may have been trying to circumvent.

Frankly, I had hoped that this shipment would last me for most of the rest of the year. But now that I have to drink one of the bottles more or less right away, I'll probably have to order again, if I want to have any rum cream for the year-end holidays. Yes, this is a luxury item. But the intervention of Homeland Security has made it even more expensive for me than it otherwise would have been (in view of the usual high cost of shipping, clearing customs, etc.). I'd like to better understand the value we receive in exchange for the inconvenience and additional expense of Homeland Security's intervention. I'm not talking about the value alleged, mind you -- because there will be plenty of empty-headed jingoists who will be horrified that I could even speak of putting a price on "security" -- but the value actually realized.

As I sit down to enjoy a rum cream from this tainted bottle, I will ponder the efficacy and cost of our wars on Terror, Drugs, and the American People's freedom. Raise a glass of whatever you like, and join me, won't you?


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