Recently I got into a bit of a debate with a person who adamantly refused to apply for a concealed carry permit because in doing so, he would put himself “on the list” of gun owners to be targeted by the government when it comes time for firearms confiscation.
In the words of Sgt. Hulka, “Lighten up, Francis.”
The WiFi Has Ears
Let me tell you something, you are already on the list. If you weren’t on the list, you are now just by reading this column. (Audible gasp)
Maybe some of you are old enough to remember J. Edgar Hoover. If not, Google that name. Back in the 1950s and 1960s, Mr. Hoover appeared as though he would have been happy with the FBI placing a listening device in every home. These days, people are paying to have the devices placed in their homes.
“Alexa, can you send this conversation to the NSA, please.”
People, in case you have not noticed, we are in the age of information sharing. That is a euphemism. We are now under more surveillance than the residents of an East German apartment complex. (For those of you that don’t know, the Socialist government of East Germany built listening devices and central listening rooms into many buildings they were constructing for their comrades … I should not have to explain this.) Now you have allowed, even encouraged, this to happen in the name of convenience.
Here is the real deal. If you have ever purchased a hunting license or had your driver’s license scanned when you bought a box of ammunition — you are on the list. If you have ever done a Google search for discount prices on firearms accessories — you are on the list. That time you looked for a Model 19 on Gunbroker.com — you are on the list. Did you get an email from your local gun club? You are on the list. Did you log into a streaming video service and watch a hunting or shooting program? You are on the list.
Did you click the “like” button on a YouTube video of a new gun review? You are on the list. Did you simply watch the video and not click the “like” button? You are on the list. Did you merely think about watching a gun review on YouTube? Somehow, they got you on the list.
It’s Not Paranoia
Did you ever notice that if you do a Google search for sandwich shops in the next town over, you will get Facebook advertisements about sandwich shops when you are in that area? That’s because the GPS unit in your phone is telling people where you are at all times. I’m just paranoid enough to think that Google is listening at all times.
I have tested the theory and the results were spooky enough to make me think I’m right. Here’s what happened. Thinking Google was listening, I picked a topic I knew I had never searched online before: The fact that I needed a new storm door on the front of my house. (I swear to you I had never before searched online for anything of the sort.) Over the next three days, I did a couple of voice searches with my phone. I would say, “OK Google. Tell me the weather in central South Dakota.” Then I would carefully close the Google app, wait a few minutes and say out loud to no one in particular something to the effect of, “I wonder what a new storm door would cost.”
It took just three days for me to see ads for storm doors and storm windows in my Facebook feed. Call me paranoid, but someone is listening. People, or more precisely, computers, are watching.
It Won’t Start With Gun-Grabbing
I am certain that the marketing engines in Silicon Valley, even the ones that say they stand for freedom, will sell that information to anyone who wants it. You can bet the “gubmint” wants it.
The real question is this: What is the government going to do with that list? If you think they will use it for door-to-door gun confiscation, you are wrong. There will be no such thing. Instead, the government will look at the list and will use government computers to turn off your electricity, water, credit cards and bank accounts.
Those services will be restored when you turn in all your guns. But that’s a story for another column.
About Kevin Michalowski
Concealed Carry Magazine Executive Editor Kevin Michalowski is a fully certified law enforcement officer, patrolling rural Wisconsin in his spare time. A Certified Trainer through the USCCA and the NRA, he has participated in training across the U.S. as both a student and an instructor. Kevin is passionate about the concealed carry lifestyle, studying the legal, ethical and moral aspects of the use of force in self-defense. He is a graduate of the Force Science Institute Certification Course and has worked as a professional witness and consultant.