“ST. HELENS, Ore. – So far as she knows, Pufferbelly Toys owner Stephanie Cox hasn’t been passing any state secrets to sinister foreign governments, or violating obscure clauses in the Patriot Act.
So she was taken aback by a mysterious phone call from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to her small store in this quiet Columbia River town just north of Portland. ”
– Is the Patriot Act and the Department of Homeland Security good for small businesses? This story makes it looks like they are not. The quote that particularly disturbs me is , “I was shaking in my shoes,” made by the store owner. When you concentrate this much power in one agency it will cause fear of the government in citizens, even if it is a minor problem, because the citizen knows that this large agency can do much more then come in and ask you to remove products from your shelves. It is counter-productive in a democratic society where the citizens should feel empowered to challenge the government, not feel fear when it’s representatives appear. The fact that the patent had already expired for the product concerned leads to an implication that the DHS is being used by big business as a form of intimidation to get around the laws of the land. I hope the store owner of this small business placed the product back on the shelf. -ed.