Privacy & Security

Big Brother Visits the Tattoo Parlor

Thinking about getting a tattoo?  If you are, better not pay cash!  If you do, the FBI has informed tattoo parlors in Los Angeles, and perhaps other cities, that you might be a terrorist.

Yes, I'm serious.  You can read the FBI notice yourself by clicking here.

Of course, paying cash at the tattoo parlor isn't the only thing that's suspicious.  The FBI helpfully warns that people who emit strange odors or who have missing hands or fingers might be suspicious.  So make sure to take a shower, and to wear your prosthesis, when you get your tattoo.

Another indicator of terrorism, apparently, are comments directed against the U.S. government.  So be sure to say nice things about Obama.  And for that matter, about George W. Bush as well.  That covers both political parties.  Also, be sure not to say anything about the blasting caps you recently procured, or about your plans to assassinate local politicians.

It's also suspicious if a group of people all want the same tattoo.  God forbid you're a member of a fraternity or sorority in which pledges are encouraged to get "inked."

So what's a tattoo parlor that wants to help the FBI fight terrorism to do?  If you show up with cash, smelling bad, missing limbs, or making vague threats against Obamacare, the tattoo parlor is encouraged to contact the City of Los Angeles Joint Regional Intelligence Center.  Also, it should require valid identification from all customers and keep records of all purchases.

But my "favorite" recommendations are straight out of the Stasi domestic spy manual:

•    Talk to customers, ask questions, and listen to and observe their responses

•    Watch for people and actions that are out of place

•    Make note of suspicious statements, people, and vehicles.

I don't have any tattoos, and I've never spent any time in a tattoo parlor.  However, until it closed a few years ago, one of my favorite hangouts in Scottsdale used to be a little coffee shop next door to a tattoo parlor.  And every time I visited the coffee shop, I would briefly see some of the tattoo parlor's patrons, and even overhear snatches of conversation.

If anyone would be out of place visiting that parlor, it would be me.  After all, I don't have any tattoos.  Nor do I have piercings in my ears, nose, tongue, or anywhere else, for that matter.  And, I don't have blue spiky hair, or any knowledge of "World of Warcraft."

So, if I ever visited that tattoo parlor, I can imagine the phone conversation that would follow with the appropriate counter-terrorism authority:

"There's a middle-aged guy carrying a briefcase who just came in to inquire about a tattoo.  He's 30 years older than most of our clients and he's babbling about something called 'limited government.' And I don't think he took a shower today. Sounds like a terrorist to me…."


Copyright © by Mark Nestmann

(An earlier version of this post was published by The Sovereign Society,

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