: The Ready.gov parody site.
Ah-ha: That was Tom’s strategy after all — to make us laugh so hard, we forget to be scared s’less.
Duct and cover
: Some folks wonder, in my comments, why I’m being so rough on Tom Ridge and his advice on how to prepare for a terrorist attack.
Not a single thing Ridge advises — not one single thing — would have helped a single victim of 9/11. They all would have died anyway.
So we’re fooling ourselves — or he’s fooling us — if we think we’re “prepared” for the next attack.
It’s bull — dangerous bull, if it lulls people into thinking they are prepared when they are not … when they are, in fact, f’ed.
If a bomb goes off around my office at Times Square, we’re f’ed.
If a bomb goes off in the subway I ride every day, we’re f’ed.
If a biological attack sneaks up on us, we’re f’ed.
Whistles won’t do a damned bit of good; neither will duct tape or plastic wrap or cereal bars or batteries or pictograms of Americans choking on terrorist gasses.
We’re f’ed. We’re not prepared. To act as if we are is a dangerous lie.
That’s why I’m tough on Tom.
: Credit Scott for the catchphrase of the age: “Duct and cover.”
: Oliver Willis put the start of his novel up online in hopes of finding a publisher. I can’t read it yet; I’m on a damnable slowspeed connection. But you go there.
Tom Ridge, Boy Scout
: As if Tom’s appearance on Today (below) wasn’t dumb enough, just go to his new ready.gov website to see advice that is either so neon obvious it’s insulting or so ludicrous it’s funny or so explicit it’s scary:
: This is my friend Janice’s favorite: If you’re in a moving vehicle, and “there is an explosion or other factor that makes it difficult to control the vehicle, pull over, stop the car and set the parking brake. ” If you can’t control the vehicle, how the hell can you do all that? By the way, if you’re in San Francisco in a moving vehicle in an explosion, make sure to pull over, stop, set the parking brake, turn your wheels to the curb, and ask yourself whether you’re still against war now!
: If there’s a nuclear blast, you should find a fallout shelter. Good luck! They’re all just basements again. And: “Consider keeping potassium iodide in your emergency kit, learn what the appropriate doses are for each of your family members. Plan to speak with your health care provider in advance about what makes sense for your family.” Oh, yeah, my health insurance will cover that conversation.
: Trapped in debris? “If possible, use a whistle to signal rescuers.” Right. I think I have one right here. Next to my plastic sheeting and duct tape.
: Plan for your pet: “Pets should not be left behind, but understand that only service animals may be permitted in public shelters. Plan how you will care for your pets in an emergency.” Any suggestions? If you don’t leave them behind and you don’t leave them outside and you can’t take them to a shelter … uh … stuff them? Eat them?
The bottom line: We are not prepared.