Wednesday, January 02, 2008

What Do Firemen Do?

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury depicts firemen burning books. It is what they do. In a story that is disconcerting for those of us who believe in the right of freedom to read, MSNBC reports that firefighters are being trained by Homeland Security in the USA in a test program. They are being trained to look for illegal materials and report people who may be "hostile, uncooperative or expressing hate or discontent with the United States."

While law enforcement officials have stringent rules that control their access to private property, fire fighters have access in order to make inspections for the purposes of preventing fires. The ACLU is concerned about the implications of this program with regard to first amendment issues.

According to New York City Fire Chief Salvatore Cassano, information related to terrorism has been passed on from firefighters to law enforcement since the program began three years ago.

It would be interesting to see what kind of information officials are collecting that they believe relates to terrorism and to what degree one needs to be "discontent" before one is reported to the government.

This would be great fodder for a dystopian novel. Oh, wait....

MTV Movies Blog reports that Tom Hanks is showing great interest in starring as Guy Montag, the “fireman” in Fahrenheit 451.

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