There doesn’t seem to be a lack of explosive events generating tremendous controversy in the ‘Netsphere. Two weeks ago it was the Kermit Gosnell trial. This past week it’s the Boston Marathon terrorist bombing and the subsequent hunt for the alleged bombers. But that’s not all. The Texas fertilizer plant also generated an explosion of comment, as did federal legislative action taken by Congress intended to further corral the Internet, all in the name of “security.” We begin this week’s column with a look at a video gone viral, while we ask the question, “Is this legal?”

Police perform house-to-house raids in Watertown

Is this a violation of our Constitutional rights? YouTube poster “rambone5” videotaped his Watertown neighbors as they were being raided by law enforcement searching for the 19-year-old believed to be the second bomber in the Boston Marathon attack. Published on Saturday, April 20, rambone5’s video was accompanied with the following note, which included a link to a corresponding FaceBook page titled: “Police State USA: Land of the Checkpoints”

WATERTOWN, MASS. – On Friday, April 19, 2013, during a manhunt for a bombing suspect, police and federal agents spent the day storming people’s homes and performing illegal searches. While it was unclear initially if the home searches were voluntary, it is now crystal clear that they were absolutely NOT voluntary. Police were filmed ripping people from their homes at gunpoint, marching the residents out with their hands raised in submission and then storming the homes to perform their illegal searches.

This was part of a larger operation that involved total lockdown of the suburban neighbor to Boston. Roads were barricaded and vehicle traffic was prohibited. A No-Fly Zone was declared over the town. People were “ordered” to stay indoors. Businesses were told not to open. National Guard soldiers helped with the lockdown and were photographed checking IDs of pedestrians on the streets. All the while, police were performing these disgusting house-to-house searches.

The video went from 301 views on Sunday morning to over 11,000 within an hour. Within six hours, the video’s related Facebook post had 5,221 shares and more than 1,200 comments:

Another video titled, “Understanding the Islamic Bombing of the Boston Marathon” produced by Answering Muslims had more than 700 views during its first day up. The video was created as part of the “Why Islam?” campaign in response to the Islamic bombing of the Boston Marathon.

But the video that captured well over 20 million views was this amateur clip taken by a father and his daughter at the very moment a fertilizer plant exploded in West, Texas.

The YouTube video text read:

A resident in the small Texas town, Derrick Hurtt, had parked his car to observe the fire at the plant earlier in the night and was filming the structure as it was engulfed in flames.

Suddenly, something sparked a massive blast, causing flames to shoot into the sky, rocking the family’s car as the terrified father and his 12-year-old daughter Khloey tried to scramble to safety.

“Dad, I can’t hear,” Khloey screamed out in agony after the explosion.

“Get out of here. Please get out of here. Daddy, please get out of here,” the child kept repeating in the terrifying audio.

The video itself can be seen below (Editor’s note: The clip contains an obscenity):

They want to know who you are

While we were transfixed by the explosions in Boston and Texas, the U.S. House passed the controversial CISPA, the The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act. Intended to get companies and the government to share info on cyberthreats, the bill passed 288-127 with bipartisan support and 17 abstentions.

Said to violate Fourth Amendment protections, the legislation will next be considered by the Senate. According to, CISPA will allow companies like Facebook, Twitter, Google and other private sector, tech and telecom companies – including your cell phone service provider – to search personal and sensitive data of average U.S. residents to identify “threat information.”

Also raising alarm bells among Internet freedom watchers, House Intelligence Committee leaders endorsed an amendment making the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice the clearing houses of the digital data exchange.

Proponents of the bill believe it will allow the U.S. government to stop cyberattacks in their tracks. The bill will also amend the National Security Act allowing U.S. intelligence agencies to share classified data with those without clearances, “which could then be shared with other firms and the government without a court-ordered warrant.”

With most of us regularly using social media, many have expressed concern over what CISPA will do to our privacy.

The group “Fight for the Future” is organizing an online privacy protest to make sure that CISPA goes the same route as SOPA and doesn’t become the law that breaks the Fourth Amendment. Only a massive grassroots outcry will stop this bill.

The group is asking online users to share this flyer on social media:

A cacophony of tweets about the Boston bombing

As of this writing, Twitter topic aggregator Twitchy had posted a separate category titled “Boston Marathon Bombing,” of 114 related items, representing hundreds of thousands of individual comments tweeted out by an alert online community.

Sing it! Stand up for America

From one of our readers comes this YouTube video in which her father – a pastor, musician and writer – collaborated. He’s the one playing the guitar in this song that urges Americans to “stand up” and wipe the tears from the Eagle’s Eyes. Thank you for sharing this with us, Faith Robinson. We need it. And we like it. A lot!

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