Are you a coffee shop terrorist?

If not, you could be sitting next to one. And thanks to a nifty little pamphlet (go ahead, it’s worth the click) being circulated as part of Communities Against Terrorism the average coffee shop patron and/or employee can know the warning signs.

I know. I was horrified at the thought myself. Coffee shops are supposed to be cozy places where you’re free to do coffee shop things. If you think about it, these are exactly the types of places that terrorists (domestic and foreign) would frequent. In this day and age with everyone consumed with their iSomethings and FaceWhats, they’d never notice terrorists working evil in their midst.

Think again terrorists! The government has given us the knowledge to stop you!

Some warning signs of coffee shop terrorism include:

–Being overly concerned with privacy. This includes shielding the screen from the view of others.
–Paying with cash too often.
–Traveling a long or “illogical” distance to get to the coffee shop.
–Preoccupation with media coverage of terrorist attacks

Isn’t it comforting to know that the next time you catch someone peeking at your screen, telling them to “Screw off” could be considered a suspicious activity? That’s because anyone living and working within a Community Against Terrorism should have nothing to hide (note the sarcasm).

Since we’re being encouraged to snoop over peoples shoulders, be aware of some of these way-of-life threatening activities:

–Downloading content of extreme/ radical nature with violent themes. (Which is a broad classification, if you ask me).
–Sign on to a residential based provider (like AOL).
–Downloading terrorist/ revolutionary materials or “how tos” based on subversive topics (i.e. The Anarchist’s Cookbook).

So what is a vigilant citizen to do if they suspect one of their fellow coffee shop patrons of terrorism?

Luckily, the pamphlet outlines it for us. The steps include:

Gathering information on suspected individuals without drawing attention to oneself and taking down license plate numbers, vehicle descriptions, languages spoken, etc.

If you’ve ever dreamed of being Magnum P.I., now’s your chance. What gets me is the “revolutionary” adjective thrown in there along with “extreme” and “radical”. So not only are we to be on the lookout for terrorists, now we have to sweat revolutionaries too. What is the world coming to?

Granted, the flyer does say that “some of the activities, taken individually, could be innocent” and a further admonition warns: “It is important to remember that just because someone’s speech, actions, beliefs, appearance or way of life is different; it does not mean that they are suspicious.”

Really that just means don’t call them every time someone with a good tan or a foreign accent shows up at the coffee shop.

But don’t let this lull the terrorists into a false sense of security. Despite these warnings, any juicy tidbits gathered should be handed over to “law enforcement professionals” who will examine the information in a larger context to see if it warrants further investigations.

All kidding aside, this really bothers me. Technically, sitting at a coffee shop, not wanting people looking at my business while I sip the overpriced latte I paid cash for could qualify me as a terrorist. Not that I’m saying it would. Besides, that’s not up to your average Coffee Shop P.I. to decide. No, their job is just to note anything suspicious and turn it over to the proper authorities. Then the proper authorities decide if and when the proverbial ax will fall.

As if we don’t already live in a culture of fear, now I’m going to have to wonder if the guy sitting next to me is going to take down my license plate and give it to the cops because he saw me looking at Black Listed News and listening to Rage Against the Machine. Makes the whole coffee shop experience that much cozier.


About That One Guy

Jason lives, laughs and loves in the Land of Enchantment. He has been many exciting things in his life, but his title has always been "author." His book, "The Ruined Man," was a finalist in the 2017 NM-AZ Book Awards. Follow him on Facebook at: Twitter: @infinityjones and Instagram @theruinedman and don't forget to check out his blog at

Posted on February 3, 2012, in Author, writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Okay, so maybe our first project should instead be “Terrorism the new McCarthyism” or we should do both at teh same time because with this and the new NDAA… well, this is just getting out of control.

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