Sunday, February 27, 2005

You go, guy!

In post 9/11 America, asking 'Why?' when someone from an airline asks for identification can start some interesting arguments. Gilmore, who learned to argue on the debate team in his hometown of Bradford, McKean County, has started an argument that, should it reach its intended target, the U.S. Supreme Court, would turn the rules of national security on end, reach deep into the tug-of-war between private rights and public safety, and play havoc with the Department of Homeland Security.

At the heart of Gilmore's stubbornness is the worry about the thin line between safety and tyranny.

"Are they just basically saying we just can't travel without identity papers? If that's true, then I'd rather see us go through a real debate that says we want to introduce required identity papers in our society rather than trying to legislate it through the back door through regulations that say there's not any other way to get around," Gilmore said. "Basically what they want is a show of obedience."

John Gilmore is, by this writer's account, the consumate geek.
Thanks to having been at the right place a the right time, plus the over-orderly mind of a computer programmer, this man is not only rich (thirty million?) and willing to stand on a principle.

When techies burn out, they tend not to do strange things. They are, by nature, already a few degrees off plumb. So they revert to the ordinary. Gilmore burned out in the late '70s. He got on a motorcycle and rode west.

"He just packed up his stuff and moved off," Pat Woodruff said. "I don't know where he went at this time."

He went to New Mexico. Gilmore worked for a while in the lowest of mechanical technologies: a traveling carnival. He ran the Tilt-A-Whirl.

"You have to watch the thing closely and know when someone's going to lose it, so you move back," he said.

Fun read in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about an interesting, if sotto voce, man of our time.
Link from Boing-Boing who got it from elsewhere, etc...

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