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Sic Semper Tyrannis

Thursday, February 08, 2007

What advice would be better?

Over at the Journal Sentinel, Laurel Walker intermixes last week's Aqua Teen Hunger Force terror scare in Boston with complaints about the government's advice for for potential terror threats. This part stuck in my mind:

I've got a handy-dandy, wallet-sized terrorism preparedness guide for media that was shipped around the country recently, compliments of the federal government and your money. It gives terrorism "basics," including the first actions we should take in the event of a specific terror attack.

Our government's advice for a nuclear bomb? "Lie on the ground and cover your head."

I'm not kidding.

Anthrax? "Contact your health provider."

Mustard gas? "Leave the affected area. Immediately remove clothing, place in a plastic bag and shower or wash. Seek medical care if exposed."

In fact, there's a lot of that call-the-doctor kind of advice, along with some general descriptions of the biological, chemical and nuclear agents we in the media might stumble across and the symptoms we might see.

(I had sort of hoped that preparedness meant we could avoid the stumbling and the symptoms.)

She tries to use the guide as both a lame comedic device and a cheap and easy complaint. The complaint part is the rub. The guides are for what if (an attack actually happens) scenarios. In the case of a nuclear explosion, if you have enough time to actually react to a detonation, then laying down may save your life from flying debris. If you are too close to the detonation, there isn't anything you are going to be able to do to save your life. Are the recommendations common sense? Yes, but common sense is the first thing to fly out the window for a lot of people in a crisis. And as for her last sentence, if she can write a book or a pamphlet that will tell us all how to avoid or prevent terror attacks, then I recommend that she do so because it will make her fabulously rich and famous, as it will solve all of our terror attack worries. Shame on the government for not having done that already, I guess.