Tuesday, July 3, 2007

I am announcing my availability as a "terrorism expert"

I have no credentials as a terrorism expert. Nor do I claim to know as much as those people who have spent their lives assessing the risks North Americans face when it comes to dealing with terrorism. However, I have become absolutely convinced that I would make an excellent TV talking head on the subject. I am reading a new studay that has been conducted where the effects of the detonation of "dirty bombs" has been examined in various Canadian target areas. This study says that were a "dirty bomb", whatever the hell that is, to be detonated in the Parliament buildings here in Ottawa, there would be "a major loss of life, combined with panic on the part of Canadian citizens". This study went on to say that should a "dirty bomb" be detonated in downtown Toronto, there would be mass confusion and fear in the immediate vicinity of that detonation.

Wow! I must be a savant when it comes to the matter of international terrorism! I would have thought the exact same thing! If the TV people had come to me, or the newspaper reporters, and asked me about this study, I would have said "it would cause panic and fear". And, it turns out, I would have been right! If the government came to me and asked me to conduct this study, I would gladly have taken their 400,000 dollars. I would have bought myself a house from which to conduct my surveys. I would have hired four friends at $30,000 apiece to work the phone lines for me. I would have purchased a car (a Smart Car, of course, to save on gas and emissions) to travel to the various locations terrorists might attack. The cattle castle. The CN Tower. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Bluesfest. I would have spared no expense visiting and experiencing every facet of these landmarks, and taking photographs so that in my final report I could accurately identify the buildings.

In short, I would have spent every penny of that 400 grand in an effort to be as thorough and precise as I could with my findings. I would give the people manning my phones a very specific list of questions to ask those they survey. Questions like "if a bomb went off in your neighbourhood, would you be scared? And if so, can you rate that fear on a scale of one to ten, ten being terrified to the point of soiling yourself, one being mildly frightened that your microwave clock may have to be reset". Or, "if you received a blank envelope with white powder in the mail, would you...(A) Use it to bake cookies...(B) See if it killed the weeds on your lawn, or...(C) Alert the authorites, the news media, the government and the CIA?"

I could make myself very useful. I would appear on CNN, get quoted in the Sun, perhaps even get a photo op with Stephen Harper. Now, I don't want to suggest my expertise could extend to anything beyond this. I am NOT qualified to figure out IF a "dirty bomb" would ever be detonated at the Parliament buildings or the CN Tower. I have no means of collecting information to determine how "real" this "threat" may in fact be. I have no ins with terror organizations, and I don't even have a chemistry degree, although I took a few classes. Then again, the guy who can figure out the answers to all these questions is not needed. That guy might actually QUELL fears when he says "it seems pretty clear no terrorists are planning to attack the giant statue of Big Joe Mufferaw in Mattawa". No, that does not further the efforts of any fear-mongers and is therefore unnecessary. What we want is people to stir up fear however they can, and I can DO that! For lots of money!

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