A 1000 Potential Hardins

By Stella Oakman

Today I posted a possible scenario regarding Hardin on the Free People site and some folks, the ones who have been following events closely saw the potential threat elsewhere immediately, but others have asked for more elaboration and even resources.  My site is full of them, but I will still add them here in the next few days.

 Looking at Hardin, most folks want the County Sheriff to stand up and do the right thing.  But with a bit more experience with fascist governments, private security companies and physical security analysis than the average bear, I see it quite differently.  So for Part 1 in this series, please allow me to paint you a picture that might be very close to reality.  You can decide if you agree.

 For one, let’s consider for a moment how this event may have gone down.  Most of us know NOT to accept the face value of official statements from paid representatives. 
 
First, somewhere prior to Sep 15, 2009 a representative of American Police Force made a proposal to the Town Council for management of the jail in Hardin with the intent of bringing in the Gitmo detainees as a source of revenue.  Armed with a business plan for the prison management, they likely talked to several key folks in the town regarding potential job opportunities for the local townspeople as well.  No doubt, Sheila and others were willing to step in and fill a few positions mentioned along with the benefits of a new SUV, etc.  How glamorous to be considered for the first positions with this new firm.
 
They undoubtedly let the excitement build for a few days.  Everyone imagined what this extra revenue might mean for their small town.  People whispered about it and folks began to think about jobs they might fill, what they could buy with that extra money, etc. 

 And as things progressed, the proposal grew bigger and bigger.  They mentioned the number of security personnel they intended to employ and bring in from the outside and not just outside of Montana, but outside of the United States.  As this company’s CEO looked around town, he started asking about everything in the town.  “Why don’t you have a police department?  What would you do if there was a terrorist threat here?  Or if one of the terrorists broke out of the prison?  Of course, we would never let that happen, but it is likely other muslims might move into your town to be close to their family members.  What security do you have for possible scenarios with ‘terrorists’ outside the prison?”

 As unusual bits of information spilled out at the successive meetings, some tidbits seemed unsettling.  But if anyone within the town council or sphere of influence became nervous or a bit suspicious, they likely started to notice a few extra people lurking around town.  Clicking noises on their phone lines.  Or a car that followed them too closely as they drove home or around town on business. 
 
Before a week has gone by, you realize they have full details about your community.  They know about your water issues, your power issues, the location of your food sources, gun owners, the political affiliations of your citizens and even the ages of all your own children and what your wife or husband does for a living. 
 
Then they bring in the SUVs and start everyone talking about the new jobs they can apply for, but you suddenly can not sleep at night.  More and more foreign looking people are arriving in town and driving through.  Everywhere you look, you think you see someone following you.  Someone new driving down the sideroads of town. 
 
Soon, maybe you don’t know who you can trust within the town council that might be supporting the new security company without regard for the consequences.  Still more little bits of information would come out from other townspeople who were forming relationships with the company directly.  They seemed to already be on the inside track with the new management and the project seemed to be getting ahead of you.  Folks are throwing around information about the potential security guards and their skill sets and you know it does not follow the acceptable Constitutional practices of law enforcement.  Still people in town are enamored with the idea and fail to see the pitfalls.

 Then the media descends on you and you feel like a deer caught in the headlights.  Suddenly, you are forced to defend a decision you are starting to regret.  All the while, in the back of your mind there is a warning voice telling you to play along or something unfortunate might happen to your own family.  You don’t know these new people, but you do know they know all about you, your town and your physical security threats. 
 
Like a hostage held in your own home and forced to send a ‘no-worries’ message to your neighbor knocking on your front door, you put your best face on a dangerous situation. 
 
After you address the media, you hurry home to make sure everyone is ok.  You try to ignore any more requests from the media because you fear that if you do talk to them and say the wrong thing, you will see more from those lurking in the shadows.
 
In the seeming quiet of the night you wonder how you got to this place.  Where did things go wrong?  Wasn’t building that new prison a boom to the economy of your small town?  Didn’t it help your nephew find work before his firstborn arrived?  How about the returning military vet who was able to work on the construction of the prison after months without any income.  It seemed like such a blessing.  It was like manna from heaven.  But was the money really from a source that was concerned for your future welfare?
 
The federal government assured you that building the prison would be a great benefit to our economy because the federal government pays more money per prisoner than the county does.  Still, it stood empty for two years after being built.  Suddenly this businessman arrives in town, and though he has a heavy foreign accent, he looks American, understands how our government works and his business offer made sense.  Again, another blessing from out of nowhere… 

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