Northern Vermont Terrorism?

The latest salvo of the War on Terror came yesterday, when Maple Grove Farms, a maple processor in St. Johnsbury, Vermont, announced it was shutting down its factory tours.

Are these maple products Al Qaeda's next target?

Seems the concern is, some nasty terrorist can get into the factory tour, drop some evil poison into the maple syrup, the product will go out onto the market, and there will be mass deaths as a result.

I’m sure as we speak, Al Qaeda’s number one priority is to poison the Vermont maple supply, thereby bringing western civilization to its knees.

Yeah, I know there’s always the chance some yahoo will do something incredibly bizarre and evil anywhere, but to what extent do we have to “protect” ourselves before the terrorists have actually won. By won, I mean force us into such a defensive crouch that our freedoms and happiness are gone.

The U.S.-Canadian border in Derby, Vermont. Will terrorists strike there?

So, we’re all supposed to hide in our cellars because some terrorist is plotting, well…. something. You never know where it might be, so we’d better duck.

In fact, right now, terrorists could be plotting an attack on my house. The reason? More people live there now. Until recently, it was just me. Now Jeff has moved in. There’s two of us living there. So Al Qaeda can launch a rocket at our house and take us both out. Could happen.

All of northern Vermont seems to be under a terrorism alert. Operation Stone Garden is in full swing in Mexican and Canadian border states, including Vermont, to really beef up law enforcement and security.

Operation Stone Garden is why you often see these huge clots of border patrol agents parked on roadsides in northern Vermont, checking everyone, and I do mean EVERYONE.

A couple weeks ago, I took a wrong turn in Richford, Vermont, near the Canadian border, and encountered one of these groups. An agent politely asked for my ID, and about a dozen other agents stood by, watching me carefully.

Because a confused looking  hick like me, driving a dirty Toyota Tacoma in a quiet Vermont border town could really be Osama bin Ladin’s secret sidekick. Again, you never know.

Apparently, my driver’s license and my scattered demeanor convinced the border agent I couldn’t successfully launch a fatal terrorist attack on so much as an ant hill. The agent gave me back my driver’s license and kindly gave me directions to get me to where I was headed. He smiled and wished me a good day.

Not a big deal, but somehow the whole thing left a bad taste in my mouth. I’m not naive. There are drug smugglers and illegal immigrant smugglers along the Canadian border in Vermont, and we need the law enforcement to deal with that.

But there are so many border patrol agents, cars, and immigration agents around that Vermont border towns are beginning to feel like tense war zones. The northern fringe of Vermont is starting to feel like Baghdad without the charm. I don’t want to go there anymore.

It’s right to fear terrorism, but why are we letting it consume us?  We succumb to so much screening, so many video cameras, so much suspicion. Eyes are always watching us.

The majority of us are law abiding citizens and we’re supposed to feel safer with all this surveillance, law enforcement and precautions.

I’m not one of those crazy conspiracy theorists who think the government is out to get us, control us, and take our freedoms away. President Obama is not a Marxist monster, the government isn’t going to take our guns away, Nancy Pelosi isn’t going to put us in concentration camps and the United States isn’t  going to turn into something like Maoist China, Circa 1950.

Operation Stone Garden and all these security precautions are only supposed to protect us from terrorism, preserve our freedom, our way of life, our right to be free of fear.

Here I am in peaceful, remote little Vermont, far removed from the car bombs of Kabul. But with all this “security” in place that’s supposed to protect me, why am I feeling less secure?

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