CAUTION, CAUTION, CAUTION: Only the opinions expressed in this article are fictional.
There have been a lot of bitterness and gratuitous recriminations lately about the invasiveness of the NSA's worldwide telecomunications dragnet operations, but, if NSA put the same degree of ingenuity it reserves for tracking information into tracking other areas of life, then a lot of unnecessary loss of life would be averted.
According to a recent Spiegel article, only 23 US citizens die as a result of terrorism per year and most of these unfortunate fatalities occur outside of the US. The Spiegel article was apparently citing comments made previously by Nicholas Kristof, who pointed out that more US citizens die of falling televisions and other appliances than from terrorism and that twice as many in that country die of bee or wasp stings annualy. He noted that 15 times as many die when they fall off ladders, which apparently includes those who get stung in the posterior by a bee or wasp when they hit the ground fatally.
I find this loss of life from falling televisions and insect stings to be appalling and unnecessary and it is deeply shameful that NSA has not set out to do something about these atrocities as well.
Mr. Kristof observed that, according to the National Priorities Project, the US has spent nearly $70,000 per US household on military and homeland security in the crusade against terrorism. My jaw dropped wide open when I read about that because I think we should be spending at least that much on the higher profile problems of flying pies, falling pianos, and slippery bananas.
But the diabetes, obesity, and malnutrition epidemics ravaging the US public are gravely responsible for far more deaths each year than even slapstick. According to July 16, 2003, remarks by US Surgeon General Richard Carmona, obesity had already reached "crisis" proportions at that time. More than one out of every three US citizens were already overweight or obese as of 2003. He noted that one out of eight deaths in America was directly related to excess body mass. I found this shocking because I had not realized that many people were dying as a result of falling fat people. Yet, this has continued for over ten years and NSA has done nothing to prevent the ongoing slaughter of epidemic proportions.
Obesity, diabetes and malnutrition are all diet-related conditions, correctable, in significant part, by nutritious meals that include lots of delicious fruits and vegetables. Such a produce-rich diet would also reduce fatalities caused by cancer, hemorrhoids, and constipation-induced grumpiness.
Apparently, the US military has not been reading the Guardian lately. If they had been, they would already know what they need to do next. A July 18 Guardian article reported that Brazil is breeding eight biofortified superfoods to better nourish the Brazilian public. This got me thinking. Why can't the NSA get involved in something like that?
Consider the possibilities. If the NSA were to bug our produce, in addition to our phones and emails, then they would be able to know whether we were eating our vegetables. Through use of ubiquitous vegetative informants, they could harvest a cornucopia of produce metadata to track our every dietary move, thus twarting global obesity, diabetes, and malnourishment epidemics. Employed in conjunction with armed vegetable drones and liberal violation of international law and fundamental human rights, compliance could be universal. No nation, no matter how reckless or bold, would be able to stand against globally enforced US dietary imperialism. Imagine the lives we could save!