I’m posting this out of political interest, not as a body modification story.
A friend recently sent me this handout that was given to them by an FBI agent that visited their studio, asking their assistance in tracking potential terrorists. From my read of it, it looks to me like they’re not targeting islamofascists, but neo-nazi gangs, survivalists, pagan right-wingers, and the patriot movement. Some of the things to look out for are quite interesting:
- People who pay with cash – This one is interesting, because it’s a recurrent paranoid theme that one of the reasons that we’re moving to credit/debit cards and away from cash is so that people can be more easily tracked.
- People with missing fingers/hands, chemical burns, strange odors or bright colored stains on clothing – No, it’s not looking for amputation fetishists, nor is it looking for slovenly people… clearly their interest here is bomb makers.
- Comments re: anti-US theory, radical theology, racist statements, cryptic warnings, etc. – Good luck on that one, guys… There are an awful lot of kooky people who have these ideas that walk into a tattoo shop, and most of them are completely harmless.
- Groups of people getting the same tattoo – Targeting both best friends, frat boys and sorority sisters, and gangs I guess. In any case, the iconography of tattooing is so repetitive that I think you’d get a lot of false positives.
- People who request unusual methods of tattooing or placement of tattoos which could allow the concealment of extremist symbols – This is interesting, because I’m not sure what they mean by “unusual methods of tattooing”… Given the second part of the statement I guess they might mean things like UV ink. But I didn’t think that right-wing extremists really went out of their way to unusually hide their tattoos. They usually just get them on non-public skin, so this seems a little “off”.
The FBI go on to ask the assistance of tattoo artists in interviewing people who come in, and asking them questions about who they are and what they’re about, and reporting anyone who seems suspicious. I think that the FBI don’t realize that by-and-large, extremists who want tattoos go to artists who are to some degree friendly to those ideas, so all this action is going to achieve is making people distrust the government even more, and won’t result in a single terrorist catch. But I suppose that’s been the counter-productive way of the government since 2001, and before as well.