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August 11, 2004

Cops confiscate D&D book on NJ-NY ferry

From BoingBoing comes a pretty terrifying story that should telegraph to everyone just how severely our rights have been eroded. I'm no D&D fan, but there is no way the book in question is "dangerous" or "inappropriate."

A BB reader sez: "Thanks to the RNC, there are manditory bag searches happening on the NJ-NY Ferry. This fellow first got hassled with a re-search for carrying The Player's Guide to Faerun a D&D book, and then the next day, security tried to confiscate his copy of Exalted: The Abyssals as 'inappropriate.'" He reports:

This morning, they're doing bag searches again to get on the ferry. And the guy doing the searches pulls me aside and says, "Sir, I feel that I need to confiscate this book."

I pause and say, in that tone of voice that most people would recognize as meaning, "have you lost your grip completely, chuckles?": "You need to confiscate... a book."

"Yes. I feel it's inappropriate for the other people on the ferry to be exposed to it."
...
He gets all pissy at me and says, "Don't you understand this is for your safety?"

"Confiscating someone's gun or bomb is for my safety. Perhaps confiscating someone's pocketknife or nailfile may be for my safety. What's so damn dangerous about my book?"

"It's INAPPROPRIATE!"

So now a book doesn't have to be seditious or obscene... it only has to freak out a rent-a-cop or TSA agent. If they are coming for the comic books, what do you think they'd do if you had a copy of this? I almost want to find out.

Somebody remind me again how we got here? And don't tell me "Sept. 11" because I'm pretty sure it's the fanatical Islamists who want to censor and sanitize everything. If this is what it takes to win, we've already lost.

Posted by jay at August 11, 2004 11:30 AM | TrackBack
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Comments

Unfortunately, there are people on both sides who think that censorship is a great idea. It's not limited to Muslim fanatics, or Christian fanatics, or insert-flavor-here fanatics.

Posted by: chaoticgoodnik on August 11, 2004 01:38 PM

I do so wish I knew where my DM's guide, player's handbook, and monster manual were. I still know the location of my gaming dice. Ah, those early '80s... of course, I was deemed Hellbound at one point for playing the game, but I think the worst outcome was probably a lack of socialization with the normal people.

I own more culturally subversive material now that also isn't likely to explode or cut, nor instruct anyone in the construction of devices that do (though, that would be legal).

I wonder if there's wireless Internet service on the ferry? I wonder what type of files people on the ferry had on their portable computing devices?

Posted by: Gary on August 11, 2004 02:58 PM

I look forward to the thought scans. There must be countless people who are having—or who can be judged likely to have—inappropriate thoughts during the trip. Maybe Pfizer can sell the government a sedative for administration to questionable citizens for everyone's safety. (I can't imagine what the cost of such an important product would be, but I know that whatever the cost, it's worth paying if it'll make us safer.)

Posted by: Gary on August 11, 2004 05:26 PM
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