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View Diary: Big Victory in Detroit over Water! Elected mayor regains control of water utility (50 comments)

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  •  How to deal with copper theft: (11+ / 0-)

    Theft of copper pipes causes huge water waste and ALSO creates the conditions favorable to enormous mosquito infestations that spread deadly diseases.

    Theft of copper wire causes electricity and telecom outages that can lead immediately to loss of lives.


    Federal and state criminal law for "destroying a utility."

    This would cover not only copper theft, but any act that damages or impairs an essential utility: water, sewer, sanitation, electricity, telephone, internet, fuel supplies, roads, rail systems, buses and bus systems, etc.  

    It would also cover using the internet for any type of mass crime such as theft including identity theft, and use of internet-connected devices to cause physical damage to property or harm to persons.  The latter provision is an attempt to deal with the risks of the Insanely Dangerous Internet-Of-Things (acronym intended).

    It would be a felony that's multiple steps up from mere vandalism and theft, but one step down from a full-on terrorist offense.

    Minimum sentence of 20 years behind bars.

    When combined with a terrorism charge it should be mandatory life without parole, for example if someone disables a city water system and commits arson, with the potential to inflict mass casualties.

    Offer a reward of $50,000 for information leading to arrest or conviction.

    Oh by the way, it would also have applied to Detroit's "emergency manager" and his mass shutoff of water supply, which interferes with the operation of the sewage system thereby creating an immediate large-scale public health hazard.

    We got the future back. Uh-oh.

    by G2geek on Wed Jul 30, 2014 at 06:26:23 AM PDT

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    •  Here in NC (as elsewhere, I guess) copper theft (19+ / 0-)

      has become endemic over the past several years. My wife heads the property committee at our downtown church, and has constantly had to deal with the disappearance of every square inch of copper on the property, many times over...including things that can't be replaced with non-copper substitutes, such as heat pump cooling coils.

      But, not long ago, the state of North Carolina passed a simple, workable, and highly effective new law to combat this trend (one of our state's last real accomplishments before the Republicans took over). The Metal Theft Prevention Act of 2012 requires scrap metal buyers to obtain a permit to purchase metals such as copper wire, copper pipe, copper bars, catalytic converters, and stainless steel beer kegs or containers. They have to record information about the seller, including a description of the person’s vehicle and a photograph of the seller with his items. Sellers can sell no more often than once a day, and only up to 25 pounds at a time, and must be paid by check if the transaction is over $100. Seller information is entered into a database that law enforcement agencies can access, which makes it easier for investigators to find stolen property and suspects.

      It isn't as draconian as it might sound (the problem impacts the poor as much as...and maybe even more than...wealthier property owners). And judging by our church's experience it is screamingly successful; copper theft here has tapered off to zero over the past year. If you can't sell it without blowing your cover it's worthless, and if it's worthless you won't steal it.

      Beneath the beam that blocked the sky, none had stood so alone as I - and the Hangman strapped me, and no voice there, cried "Stay" for me in the empty square. (The Hangman, Maurice Ogden)

      by DocDawg on Wed Jul 30, 2014 at 08:13:34 AM PDT

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      •  NC law to stop copper thieves... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        G2geek, DocDawg

        is an excellent law for all states....and it worked! How could any Democrat or Republican be opposed to this solution.

        •  Oh, any 'good' Republican (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          G2geek, Kalisiin

          could easily object without breaking a sweat. It is, after all, a classic case of big gummint regulating a market for the common good, which is evil incarnate. In fact, I'm kinda surprised the Republican supermajority in the legislature hasn't repealed this law yet. But I guess they still have bigger fish to fry, what with persecuting gays, denying equal voting rights to the poor, denying Medicare benefits, denying unemployment compensation, fracking my back yard, lowering taxes on the rich, and crippling public schools. They'll get around to it in good time, I'm sure. It's on their bucket list.

          Don't get me started. Thank God for Moral Mondays.

          Beneath the beam that blocked the sky, none had stood so alone as I - and the Hangman strapped me, and no voice there, cried "Stay" for me in the empty square. (The Hangman, Maurice Ogden)

          by DocDawg on Wed Jul 30, 2014 at 12:55:43 PM PDT

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          •  Yes, Thank God For Moral Mondays (0+ / 0-)

            I am a soon-to-be North Carolinian who cannot WAIT to get in on these Moral Mondays.

            I just wish I was coming sooner than October, because the Moral Mondays will be done for the year by then, I guess.

            But I'll be there in time for next year!  And I'll be there in time to vote for Kay Hagan!

      •  good so far, but needs to go further. (0+ / 0-)

        Metal theft is 1/N of the total problem, where N = Large.

        The problem isn't just the physical metal, it's the networks that are connected by the metals.  Networking and connectivity are "systempunkts" per 21st century military theory: vulnerable points that can be leveraged to destroy entire large systems or swaths of vital infrastructure.  If you read up on this you'll see that water, sewer, transport, and the like have similar characteristics to electricity & telecoms.

        The goal I have in mind is to deal with all of it at once.  And the reason for this is to create a "level playing field of dis-incentive" rather than a situation where badguys evaluate the legal landscape and pick targets that are not covered.

        We got the future back. Uh-oh.

        by G2geek on Wed Jul 30, 2014 at 05:10:52 PM PDT

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    •  for the record, the reason I didn't mention... (0+ / 0-)

      ... airline infrastructure is that I was thinking it's already amply covered by existing anti-terrorism legislation.  But on second thought, it should also be added to the list, because clearly there are potential attack vectors that aren't clearly covered by existing laws.

      We got the future back. Uh-oh.

      by G2geek on Wed Jul 30, 2014 at 05:14:05 PM PDT

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