A Journal of the Plague Year 2020–chapter 97

A Florida National Guard RC-26 in action.

Friday, June 19

And the next shortage is…charcoal!

Out of stock, they report at Damark. CVS has none, either, while they do have stuff like cookies, ice cream, milk, lots of bottled beverages, etc.

I had donned my mask and gloves and gone out to get some more Aleve and vitamin D-3, along with a few eats that Peapod failed to deliver. We have enough charcoal to make hamburgers tonight, but that’s likely the end. 

Nor is there any sign of the rabbit this morning, but last evening as the gloaming came on, I could see the little guy sitting near the neighbor’s driveway. There’s new, and likely delicious, sod in their front yard, so that’s probably an attraction.

While I am here blabbing about bunnies, the national security state is taking advantage of the Black Lives Matter demonstrations to refine its surveillance hardware. Both the West Virginia and the Wisconsin national guards have sent state-of-the-art RC-26 airplanes to be eyes-in-the-sky over demos in D.C. and Minneapolis. According to the Times: “Representative Adam Kinzinger, an Illinois Republican who is also an RC-26 pilot in the Wisconsin Air National Guard, said he flew two night missions this month in support of domestic law enforcement officials in Minneapolis, sending real-time video feeds to the authorities on the ground.” These “authorities” can view the real-time feeds on their cellphones, it seems.

However, according to this source, “the plane’s onboard camera was powerful enough to make out the general image of an individual as the three-member crew flew at altitudes between 4,000 and 20,000 feet. But the cameras were not strong enough or sophisticated enough to use for facial recognition or to read license plates on vehicles.” But now that the authorities are aware of that, there could be some tweaks to bring the onboard cameras up to speed.

Why not simply get more CCTV? That’s what they use, to great effect, in all the Brit cop shows. On the cops’ computers, they can zoom in right on a perp’s face or license plate. And if it’s on Netflix, it must be true, right? So, how come the RC-26s?

Well because CCTV wouldn’t add to the bottom line of aircraft makers Fairchild and Lockheed, who no doubt make big campaign contributions to congressional representatives.

And nothing’s too good for our boys in uniform. It’s seems we’ve been handing the planes around to various foreign governments, including Venezuela (!) and Peru.

Tonight’s dinner: hamburgers, baked potatoes with sour cream, and coleslaw.

Entertainment: Two final episodes of the first season of Marcella.