20151231

A jar of nuts with honey

Homeland security took something away from me today -- a jar of nuts with honey. I had bought the item at a Russian market several months ago as a birthday gift for my sister, who has been sick for a long time. The doctors think it's an autoimmune condition. Autoimmune diseases are insidious, and as varied as the antibodies that cause them. They say it might have been triggered by a virus. Viruses are strange things, they are information, bits of DNA that hijack cells' capacity for DNA replication. A virus causes cells to prioritize propagating the viral message over normal function. Her body fought the virus, learned to recognize it and destroy it. But recognizing things is hard, and part of the virus looked so much like parts of herself that the immune system started attacking healthy tissue.

Homeland security took away a gift I'd bought to show my sister I was thinking of her while browsing a market months ago. Every person there that day knew that the jar was harmless, but according the homeland security, explosives could be prepared to resemble honey. We must be very careful not to allow explosives onto planes, because once, terrorists attacked us using airplanes. These terrorists had been exposed to an ideology that caused them to prioritize propagating that ideology over other human lives. Ideologies are strange things, they are information, bits of rhetoric that hijack the human capacities for cognition. We declared war on the ideology. We learned to recognize tools that they might use against us. But recognizing things is hard. Mundane items, like children's toys and civil liberties were also targeted.

When you're sick, your body does all sorts of awful things to fight the infection. You run a fever, you vomit -- symptoms as much as a consequence of fighting the disease as the disease itself. But when your body mistakes itself for the disease, the symptoms continue indefinitely. It's been fifteen years, and my sister is still sick, and we're still confiscating jars of sweets and children's toys.


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