|Date: Sat, 22 Mar 2003
Tony and Marcia,
Things are a bit peculiar in typical America, far from New York and Washington D.C. etc. Especially on a weekend, and on a day like today (Saturday). That really came home to me today here in Huntsville.
About lunch time I noticed a pretty bright yellow dirigible flying slowly around over Huntsville, with a big banner on its side, reading "Pearl River Resort" which I think is a gambling casino somewhere in a neighboring state.
After it had been flying around for more than three hours, on an impulse I called the phone number supposedly of the Emergency Management and Civil Defense folks here in Huntsville. Got an operator that at first did not know she answered the phone for them "on the weekend", since "they do not work on the weekend". I then pointed out that a neat yellow dirigible was flying around over our heads, explained what a terrible thing it could be if it were really terrorists spraying anthrax -- in which case we would already be in a terrible situation of already expecting 100,000 casualties or more. She stated again that the EM and CD folks don't work on the weekend, and I could just call them back on Monday during regular hours!!! Or if I wished, I could just call the police. At my insistence about the dirigible, she checked with someone, then came back and said brightly, "Oh, that is just an advertising thing for Pearl River Resort."
Explaining that I knew that full well, since anyone could read the sign on the dirigible, I told her that what I was asking was, "Has anybody physically checked it out and approved it and the crew before it started flying around up there over our heads?" [In other words, where's the log book, the schedule for the day of incidents that could -- if not checked --- resemble a terrorist attack, where's the statement that the dirigible and crew were indeed physically checked and passed okay?] She got more irritated, and kept insisting I could either call the Police or wait till Monday and that I should call the EM and CD folks "during regular hours" on Monday. I pointed out that she had answered my question: no one had apparently even bothered to physically check out what could have been a very grave terrorist attack on the greater Huntsville area --- if it were terrorists with anthrax, it would have already sentenced more than 100,000 people here to their certain death. I thanked her and hung up. It's not her fault or her policy!
The point is easily seen. This place is asleep like Rip Van Winkle; meanwhile, we've got a war going on, etc. where just such U.S. cities as Huntsville --- with NASA here, and Redstone Arsenal, and the U.S. Army Aviation & Missile Command, and gobs of aerospace companies, etc. --- are the intended main target for the terrorists already inserted into the U.S. with weapons of mass destruction. We could be in imminent danger of attack by weapons of mass destruction, including anthrax, officially, according to our own government. We are in Orange condition, the second highest alert for Homeland Defense in this war on terrorism, and in this war the main target of the terrorists is indeed our civilian populace -- and our critical installations such as NASA and the Redstone Arsenal.
And the city apparently doesn't even have anybody working the homeland security area watch "on the weekend". Nor is anyone apparently even interested in checking out a long-endurance yellow dirigible appearing over the city with an innocuous sign, which apparently is just allowed to fly over the city without any checking at all. This illustrates what a really simple thing a "textbook perfect" anthrax spray attack would be and is, if one is outside a few of the big cities, but is still in a built up area with substantial population.
That textbook attack could easily have been right here today, right over old Huntsville.
I guess the terrorists are "supposed to be proper fellows, old chap", and wait till the regular weekdays to do those dastardly things. And they are apparently supposed to use Iraqi markings or some such, so we can clearly recognize them, instead of using a very obvious ploy that could be posing as legitimate advertising with a big "normal" advertising sign.
This shows just how deeply that heartland U.S.A. is sleeping. We still haven't even learned the primary lesson of 9/11.