Bradbury's Method Used In Search For Bombing Suspect

How to find a criminal suspect? In Ray Bradbury's 1954 novel Fahrenheit 451, the totalitarian, book-burning government is looking for the novel's hero, who is on the run for reading books. The key is that everyone is tuned into their media - in the novel, that means the TV parlor:

"Police suggest entire population in the Elm Terrace area do as follows: Everyone in every house in every street open a front or rear door or look from the windows. The fugitive cannot escape if everyone in the next minute looks from his house. Ready!"

Of course! Why hadn't they done it before! Why, in all the years, hadn't this game been tried! Everyone up, everyone out...

He imagined thousands on thousands of faces peering into yards, into alleys, and into the sky, faces hid by curtains, pale, night-frightened faces, like gray animals peering from electronic caves, faces with gray colorless eyes, gray tongues, and gray thoughts looking out through the numb flesh of the face...
(Read more about Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451)

A similar approach was tried in New York using another media delivery system - the smartphone. The nation’s Wireless Emergency Alerts system was deployed as an electronic wanted poster, identifying a 28-year-old man sought in connection with the bombings in Manhattan and New Jersey

Suddenly, from commuter trains to the sidewalks of the city, millions were enlisted in the manhunt.

The message was simple: “WANTED: Ahmad Khan Rahami, 28-yr-old male. See media for pic. Call 9-1-1 if seen.”

In an instant, the reach and ubiquity of law enforcement in an age of terrorism and digital technology became apparent.

The system, in place for several years, has been used to assist the authorities in moments of chaos and potential danger: after the Boston bombing in 2013, when the Boston suspects were still at large, and last month in Los Angeles, during an active shooter scare at the airport. In both cases, those receiving the message were told to shelter-in-place or were given safety updates.

The “wanted” message sent Monday appeared to be the first widespread attempt to transform the citizens of a major American city into a vigilant and nearly omnipresent eye for the authorities.

Via NYTimes.

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