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Too much information

Obviously, I am in the information business but I submit to you that we now live in an era of information overload. We have data at our fingertips. Our cellphones can access more data instantly than all the dictionaries, encyclopedias and other reference materials ever published. Easy access to endless information can be both a blessing and a curse. Sometimes we suffer under the onslaught of too much information. The kids have an abbreviation for this: ‘˜TMI’. They will text, tweet, snapchat or otherwise disseminate it when one of the members of their squad goes on too long about romance, acne, bodily function or God only knows what else. Sharing today knows no bounds. TMI appearing on your phone is the 21st century method of someone in your posse saying ‘˜shut up, fool’. In November 2015, the Obama administration decided to bomb 116 tanker trucks in Syria that ISIS was using to smuggle crude oil out of that country to finance the beheadings of those who will not assimilate and bow to the east. About an hour before the attack, F-15 fighter jets dropped leaflets warning the truck drivers of their pending incineration out of concern for ‘˜civilian casualties’. Can you imagine Gen. George Patton radioing Field Marshal Erwin Rommel with such a warning or vice-versa? It is hard to imagine a military under President Donald Trump and Secretary of Defense Mad Dog Mattis dropping leaflets. That’s too much information. Last week, we heard reports of an intruder breaching a White House fence and cavorting around on the premises for 17 minutes before being apprehended. That is an unimaginable security breach for which heads should roll but should we know about it? News coverage of such events will simply lead more idiots to try to jump the fence. A simple shoot to kill order would put a stop to such incidents but, in the meantime, let’s not publicize them. TMI. We also read and heard ad nauseam about a laptop issued to a secret service agent that was stolen from a vehicle – some reports later claimed it was strapped onto a motorcycle outside a female agent’s home in a high crime area. Apparently the agent also left a card with the computer that made accessing the information on it easier. The laptop contained information about the layout of Trump Tower and where Secret Service agents were assigned in the building. This begs all sort of questions. Why is sensitive material like that on a laptop to begin with? Why was it not encrypted in some fashion to protect against just such a theft? Why is a secret agent living in a high crime area? Le Carre’s George Smiley would be appalled. The biggest question of all is why we even know about the story to begin with. TMI. Back in the day, my brothers and I spent hours upon hours watching The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin would have no more lost such a device than Maxwell Smart would have lost his shoe phone. And, if they had, you would never have known about it. The thief would have been found and eliminated by one round from a silenced Walther PPK to the back of the head. Unless, of course, Illya had been drummed out of U.N.C.L.E. for collaborating with the Russians to get Trump elected. Know TMI when you see it and beware the consequences. Walter Geiger is editor and publisher of The Herald Gazette and Pike County Journal Reporter.

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