“We don’t want folks sealing up their doors or sealing up their windows.”
— Tom Ridge, Sec. Homeland SecurityWhew, Tom, what a relief! Until you spoke those words on Friday, Valentine’s Day, a lot of people got the impression that is exactly what they had better be doing, and they were doing it with a vengeance. Ever try to wrestle a roll of duct tape out of a determined Grandmother’s clutches in a crowded hardware store aisle? Ain’t easy, especially with all those stand-around clerks rooting for Grannie.
While we’re on the subject of duct tape, that is what it is, “duct” tape. But through the years it has gradually deteriorated in public parlance, to “duck” tape. This is unfair to that AFLAC duck which has refused to be silenced through many cycles of commercial buys over recent months. Truth be told, the stuff is neither “duct” nor “duck.” It is “gaffer’s tape,” as everybody in shipping departments knows, and in the television production business. Gaffer’s tape is the universal binder that has held everything together, from camera cases to careers. It can’t be helped that “gaffer” has a certain eponymous relationship to what happened when your fellow government gurus began advising America what to do now that the nation’s temperature had been raised to orange. And the “chatter” picked up by listening posts grew more ominous.
We went for the tape and the plastic sheeting, and the bottled water and the little masks. We got the last “D” cell battery in America. And those with any foresight made the bathroom the safe room. A couple of questions about that, Tom. When are you going to tell America about the real danger of a dirty bomb, a radiological job? When are you going to mention potassium iodide or iodate as the preventative that goes to the thyroid before the other deadly radioactive stuff gets there? Medication that saved thousands at Chernobyl and never gets a mention here?
While you’re at it, Tom, ask why we are smallpox vaccinating military service-people and some first response and health-care workers but leaving the other 278-million folks at risk and in the dark. By whom do we suppose the health-care folks, the nurses, EMS crews and the like are likely to be exposed? Right. The rest of us.
I realize that the government is working on a plan to answer all these questions, Tom, and Homeland Security will announce it in the coming week or so. It’s to be called the “Ready Campaign.” It may deal with some of the unanswered questions. Spurred by a seditious desire to know more now, before government gurus tell me, I asked our local cable company if the Qatar-based al-Jazeera network could be available on one of the 578 channels I am currently paying for. That way I could listen to Osama right along with Colin Powell. “No chance,” they said, explaining that all available channels will be dedicated to repeats of “Joe Millionaire” or the latest installment of the evolution of Michael Jackson’s nose.
I suppose this is out of Homeland’s purview, Tom. But I say leave Michael Jackson alone: he has set an example for American youth, a lesson for all: “keep grabbin’ your crotch, and your nose’ll fall off.”
Of course, there is always duct….never mind.