Monday, June 05, 2006

Business as usual, terror-wise...

New Yawkers are outraged at the reallocation of Homeland Security funds away from NYC to places like Omaha.

Homeland Security officials insist Fort Lauderdale and Orlando are up for substantial increases because they are tourist destinations. Memphis made the list because of the cargo passing through it. But Omaha (up 38 percent)? [More here]
And for good reason, we farmers say...

Our idea of fairness when it comes to federal $ is one-for-me-one-for-you (regardless of actual risks). To be sure, we have tried our best to make agri-terrorism pretty scary sounding, but even the guys in Iowa have a hard time keeping a straight face when claiming we are at risk of a terrorist attack. Agri-hysterical announcements like this would be laughable in any other industry:

There have been at least five acts of agri-terrorism in the United States and 17 worldwide. [For 5 bonus points , name one] In one attack, a radical group released Mediterranean fruit flies in California. The Medfly attacks more than 250 varieties of fruits, nuts and vegetables. A similar attack with a corn or soybean pest could devastate South Dakota’s agriculture industry. [Exactly what pest could they use that Ms. Nature is not already using?]

[my comments]

The idea of agriterrorism is pretty far-fetched [I will allow eco-loons and animal rightists as minor irritants], but not so ethereal as to write off as a way to add some federal moola to the local economy. Plus if a seemingly credible threat can be implanted in the minds of rural worriers, we can sell them some insurance.

The odds of a mildly serious threat to food and water supplies is minuscule however, just because of the daunting problem of widely dispersed targets. Plus at the end of the day, is a poisoned pig farm as scary as a subway explosion?

I find this bickering over federal aid reassuring. If homeland security is now just another pork barrel industry - and I think that is where we have arrived - it means most Americans are less scared than they are looking for an angle.

In short, America is getting back to being America. While I never doubted we could get over 9/11, I am reassured to see us shrug off the fear-mongering of politicians and media to take the time to pick their pockets.

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