How The Austin Bomber Was Located. The Panopticon State Works.

The Austin Bomber was traced using cameras and cell phone data. His every move was followed from FedEx stores to his hotel. This is the world we live in. Ger used to it. 

Austin bombing suspect dead, apparently tracked down by surveillance state

A 24-year-old “white male” suspect in the bombing spree afflicting Austin, Texas is dead after blowing himself up in his car while being fired upon by police.  Information is still very fragmentary, but according to reports on Fox News this morning, police were led to him through the blanket surveillance capabilities that have come characterize American society in the wake of the “war on terror.”

Specifically (and keep in mind that early information in huge media events often is subject to change), the suspect was photographed dropping off two packages at a FedEx office in Austin.  (Update: photos.)

Hat tip: Conservative Treeehouse (source link).

He was wearing a hat and wig, reportedly, so no facial identification was possible, but police were able to use cell phone tower data to identify everyone who was in the area with a cell phone turned on.  Evidently, the individual in question was already on some sort of police lists, and that identified him as a strong suspect.  From that point, getting to his location was inevitable.  Some reports indicate that police were able to trace his Google searches and identify the hotel where he was staying.  But if he had the same cell phone on his person, that could have led police to him also.

No doubt some of this information will prove mistaken, but the underlying point remains sound.  If you have a cell phone on your body with the battery in it, the police probably can know everywhere you have been and where you are now.  And with the proliferation of security cameras, they can see you and what you are wearing.

This is called the “panopticon” state that can see you everywhere.  China is spending a lot of money and devoting intellectual resources to becoming the most thoroughgoing panopticon state in human history.  But if you think you are not subject to constant surveillance and keep a cell phone with you, the police can find out where you’ve been and where you are now, in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

The demise of the presumptive perp in Austin is an upside of this situation.  The downside has yet to be fully plumbed here, but in China, it is clear that it is a foundational element of twenty-first-century tyranny.

Prepare yourself for further information on the suspect’s motivation.  Leftists are hoping he is some sort of rightist or racist, giving them moral bragging rights.  Conservatives are hoping he is a leftist for similar reasons.  If the leftist hopes are realized, expect a huge wave of accusation leveled at everyone to the right of Lindsey Graham dominating the mainstream media.  If he was a lefty, expect the mainstream media to change the subject.

Meanwhile, people in central Texas have to still worry about other packages that may be somewhere in the delivery systems of any provider of such services.

The Tariff Explained

In this article, the secretary of Commerce, explains the strategic need for this steel and aluminum tariff. The need is read and is intended to preserve strategic industries in the US.

President Trump announced Thursday that he is imposing tariffs of 25% on steel imports and 10% on aluminum imports, with exemptions for Canada and Mexico. The president acted because steel and aluminum imports have helped erode the domestic industry to the point that it threatens national security. Unfair trading practices from countries like China have distorted the global steel and aluminum markets. It is time to halt the damage.

Since 1998, countless steel mills and aluminum smelters have closed. More than 75,000 steel jobs alone have disappeared. Today the U.S. has only one steel mill that can produce the advanced alloys used in armored-vehicle plating; one aluminum smelter that makes the high-grade aluminum needed for defense aerospace applications; and one steel mill that makes the materials needed for infrastructure like electrical transformers.

These tariffs aim to reverse this sorry state of affairs. Companies that produce steel and aluminum have said these tariffs will allow them to reopen mills, expand operations, attract new workers, and maintain critical steel- and aluminum-making skills.

It is true that higher steel and aluminum costs could mean price increases for American consumers. But they should be small for individuals and families. Monthly payments for a typical mass-market car might increase by $4 because of the tariff, according to Commerce Department estimates. Is that a fair price to pay for protecting national security? We think so.

Will it start a trade war? It shouldn’t. The U.S. isn’t the only country that has expressed concern about the types of unfair trade practices that are prevalent in the steel and aluminum industries. Countries like China have provided massive subsidies to their companies, and this is harming markets world-wide.

The U.S. has tried to work with others to address these problems. Unfortunately, mechanisms like the Global Steel Forum have fallen woefully short of their aims, with other countries failing to adhere to even basic transparency commitments.

The president will not stand idle while unfair practices erode America’s steel and aluminum industries and threaten national security. Other countries understand that.

Further escalating this issue is counterproductive. Rather, countries should take responsibility for their unfair practices and work together to address the underlying problems facing these industries. The U.S. is ready and willing to engage in such efforts.

The president has the authority to adjust or exempt countries from these tariffs at any time based on circumstances and national security considerations. That is why he is exempting Canada and Mexico. We expect continuing negotiations to create more national-security benefits than the tariffs.

Meanwhile, we will not hesitate to continue standing up for American families, American businesses and American workers.

Mr. Ross is U.S. secretary of commerce.