So some whack-job tries (and fails) to blow up a car bomb in the middle of Times Square. It was kind of a surprise, but I must say the response of the government is– sadly– completely unsurprising.

Of course they’ve labeled this a “terrorist incident” because these days, anything remotely dangerous must be the work of the boogeymen terrorists. There are no longer unbalanced individuals with a vendetta against the world, or just having a bad day. Every bad thing that happens, or almost happens, or is even just bouncing around the head of someone who’s particularly grumpy, is now a terrorist incident.

That notwithstanding, this scare gives the government the perfect excuse to expand the surveillance society they’re so keen to build. From a New York Times article:

The police department has been planning a high-tech security network for Midtown Manhattan involving surveillance cameras, license plate readers and chemical sensors… the network would use public and private security cameras and license plate readers and would be able to record and track every vehicle moving between 34th and 59th Streets, river to river.

Every vehicle. In the heart of New York City. It staggers the mind to consider how much information would be collected to facilitate this. Thousands (tens of thousands?) of security cameras will be needed, not to mention vast computation and data storage capabilities. Everyone in Manhattan can kiss their privacy goodbye.

But the real kicker for me is this move– like so many measures enacted by the government in the past decade– will most likely be completely useless. From the same article:

It was not clear whether it could have prevented the attempted car bombing in Times Square on Saturday night. Because neither the SUV used in the attempt nor the license plate on it had been reported stolen, it would not have raised any immediate red flags.

So we’ll spend tens of millions of taxpayer dollars, employ a huge staff, monitor millions of people, and get absolutely nowhere.

Stop the madness. Please.