In July 2010, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) launched the national “If You See Something, Say Something” campaign. In my opinion, and based on yesterday’s horrific terrorist attack at the Boston Marathon, the campaign – just like the department of homeland security – is a complete failure.
Billions upon billions of our tax dollars have been spent by the Department of Homeland Security, much of which has been squandered away spying on innocent American Citizens, classifying conservatives and survivalists as a national threat, buying billions of rounds of ammunition, launching Environmental Justice Units, and a slew of other wasteful programs; all of which have failed to catch a single terrorist.
See Something, Say Something Campaign symbolizes failures of the whole organization.
From the days of the color coded terror charts, to the newest DHS innovation, the See Something, Say Something Campaign, DHS has done nothing but confuse the public on what it is they should be looking for. Case in point is the Boston Marathon bombing attack.
Within hours of the event, it was pretty clear who law enforcement suspected in the bombing. In fact, early reports from the New York Post even stated that a Saudi National was being guarded at a local hospital.
Hours after the event, The Boston Police Department put out a BOLO (Be on the Lookout) for a Middle Eastern man carrying backpacks. Despite the fact that DHS had overwhelming evidence of who might have committed the attack, they refused to tell the public who it was they were looking for.
If they expect the public to say something when they see something suspicious, shouldn’t they inform the public of who it is they should be looking for? We have an administration that is so politically correct, that they can’t even release a description of the suspects for fear of offending a certain group of people.
See Something, Say Something?
People need to start becoming a little bit more aware of what’s going on around them.
We live in an age where people are so egotistically involved in themselves that they fail to notice anything going on around them. I heard an interview with a guy that was only blocks away from yesterday’s bombing; 30 minutes after the attack the guy was still walking around blissfully unaware that 2 bombs had just gone off blocks away from where he was standing. Smoke filled the air, the blasts could be heard from miles away, and bloody people were lying in the streets, yet this guy was completely unaware of the attack. This pretty much characterizes the American Public.
Put down the IPod, take out the ear buds, and pay attention!
If you’re a regular reader on this site, you’ll know that we frequently talk about situational awareness, something that most Americans fail to grasp.
It amazes me that in a crowd of thousands of people, not one person noticed a Middle Eastern man carrying multiple backpacks, and then leaving those backpacks sitting on the sidewalks. This is something that in my opinion should have been pretty easy to spot.
If people paid a little more attention to their surroundings, stuff like this would be far less likely to happen. Just like the gun debate, we must be able to protect ourselves, and we cannot rely on the government or law enforcement to keep us safe. Basically, they are there to clean up the mess, and even that they have a hard time doing.
How can you keep yourself safe?
Read our article on Preparing for Active Shooter Situations and Terrorist Attacks. Many of the tips in that article are directly relevant to what happened in Boston, and many of the tips should be incorporated into your everyday life.
Don’t be paranoid, be vigilant. The fact is we live in a world filled with people who thrive on chaos and destruction. While I’m not saying you should walk around fearing what could happen – because that’s the opposite of being situationally aware – I do advise being aware of your surroundings and staying vigilant when you’re out in public.
Also consider the following tips from our article on Flash Mobs, because a lot of those tips also apply to terror type events.
Stay aware of your surroundings at all times. If you get the slightest premonition that something may be wrong, you need to listen to your instincts and act fast.
Keep an eye on the crowd. If you notice an abnormal increase in the number of people in your area, or if you notice a loner that doesn’t seem to belong in the area, this could be the first sign that something isn’t right. Immediately scan the area and try to get a feel for the types of people who are walking around. If you see something that doesn’t seem right, it’s probably a good time to make your exit.
Beat them at their own game. The last thing I want to mention is using the same technology that these criminals / terrorists use to your advantage. Although these events seem to spring up out of nowhere, they are often heavily promoted or talked about on sites like Twitter and Facebook. If you plan on going to a large public event, or somewhere that may be targeted by these groups, jump on Twitter and type in the name of your destination. It only takes a couple of seconds of your time, but those couple of seconds can warn you to any impending dangers or active threats.
It may seem odd, but many of these terrorist groups will actually post something online, taking credit for the event before it even happens. Again, if something seems weird, trust your gut.