Terrorism in Ramsey County, Redux

Back in November, you may recall, I gently mocked the shock horror(!) that sleepy little Ramsey County, Minnesota was, as some would-be journalists wanted to believe, home to thirty-three terrorist groups.

Yesterday, this anti-saga continued with the shocking discovery that no records seem to exist to back up some of the claims the whole “33 terrorist groups” thing was based on. “A very big lie” was how a spokesperson described it.

It is of course no surprise to anyone that Bob Fletcher would have lied or engaged in any sort of wrongdoing. (Not the world’s most popular Sheriff, lemme tell ya.) But here again the “alternative media” are spending more time being “alternative” than proper journalists, as the sordid details aren’t quite as shockingly dramatic and exciting as activists might wish.

The whole gist of the explanation, such as it is, seems to be that the Sheriff’s Department made presentations or verbal reports to other agencies, rather than producing written documents.

I still maintain that the “journalist” pursuing this “story” is looking for some sort of exciting and outrage-provoking scandal, so assume that she and like-minded compatriots are going to be developing outrage that the Ramsey County Sheriff clearly had something to hide. Otherwise, I imagine them sputtering, why make intangible presentations that cannot be requested under open-records laws?!

Here’s why.

Presentations and verbal briefings save time and effort.

It’s really that simple.

Consider the following written report:

Mess Accomodations for the Night of 24 January
U N C L A S S I F I E D

Executive Summary:
After coordination with all parties involved, the Financial Services Committee and the Culinary Committee have concluded that tonight’s evening meal will be procured from Papa John’s, and that this meal will be served in the communal mess commencing at approximately 1830 local time, to conclude once supplies are exhausted.

Background
Owing to a combination of social mores, biological imperatives, physiological requirements, and emotional preferences, an informal Collective meeting gathers by tradition in the early evening hours local time most nights within the shared dining and food-preparation areas of the building to partake of physical nourishment and unstructured social interaction with other members of the Collective, neighbors, romantic or non-romantic sexual or platonic partners, friends, acquaintances, and random strangers. The commencement of this regular gathering is dependent upon a number of factors, including but not lmited to work schedules, hormonal imbalances, estimated sobriety, and, pending the final report of the Astrological Working Group, the lunar cycle.

In addition, the choice and availability of comestibles is generally dependent upon the available financial and motivational resources of the current members of the Culinary and Financial Services committees, as well as the contents of the refrigerator, freezer, and pantry, the day of the week, prevailing local microclimatic conditions, and the current state of members’ meunstral cycles and/or libidos.

Findings
The Culinary and Financial Services committees, to whom the Collective has explicitly granted authority and approval to resolve such matters, met in session on the evening of the 24th to coordinate mess accomodations for the night of the 25th. After rationally evaluating recent menu offerings, the motivational state of the involved parties, the dietary wishes and preferences of Commune members, and the current balance of the Treasury, a unanimous consensus was reached that this evening’s requirements could be met by the procurement of two (2) large pizzas from Papa John’s, at an estimated expense of thirty-five (35) United States Dollars (USD). One pizza will be a “Cheesy Chicken Cordon Bleu”, thin crust; the other will be a “Meat Lover’s”, regular crust.

Actions
The Culinary Committee has successfully leveraged network infrastructure to securely transmit a scheduling request to the regional Papa Murphy’s franchise, requesting the delivery of the above-mentioned items at approximately 1830 local time this evening, and are in receipt of an electronic confirmation of this purchase order.

The Financial Services Committee has withdrawn thirty-five United States Dollars (35 USD) from the Treasury (the junk drawer in the kitchen) and placed it for temporary safe-keeping in the Bag of Mystery (her purse) until it is needed.

Leads
At the Commune:

All members wishing to partake of the collectively-procured comestibles and social interaction are instructed to present themselves, WITH CLOTHES ON, BRIAN, in (or in the vicinity of) the kitchen at 1830 local time this evening.

The Financial Services Committee will, upon the arrival of tonight’s comestibles, pay the nice man or woman promptly and efficiently, without any excessively flirtatious banter or other behaviour.

The Culinary Committee will, before he goes to bed, discuss with the Financial Services Committee the logistics of tomorrow evening’s mess.

That’s pretty much how law-enforcement communicate in this country, when they do so in writing.

That took me about forty minutes to write, I might add.

Now consider the “verbal briefing” that conveys the exact same information:

“We ordered the usual for dinner. It should be here at six-thirty; Karen’s got the cash.”

Nobody wants to wade through six-pages of obtuse gobbledegook just to learn “there are no new developments, and the situation is unchanged since last week.”

Hence, verbal presentations and briefings, through which everybody wins… except possibly activists playing at being journalists.

Published in: Geekiness, General | on January 25th, 2011| No Comments »

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