Friday, October 07, 2005

NY Subway threat

I woke up this morning expecting to get all crazy following the story of the New York Subway threat last night...just hours after one of the president's most impressive speeches.
Just after the president's speech.

So far, no good.

Michael Savage was laughing on his over-the-edge radio program as the story unfolded. He was amused that "Nineteen" terrorists were reported to be involved. Not twenty. Not nineteen and a midget. But nineteen...the number associated with Sept. 11. He was clearly and openly skeptical that anything important was really going on.

Drudge links to a Newsday piece saying "Police flooded the city's subways Thursday night amid disputed intelligence reports that terrorists with links to Iraq had planned to possibly bomb the system with baby strollers fitted with explosives -- a threat the mayor called the most specific yet against the nation's largest mass transit network."

The mayor! Wow!
But "disputed" reports? Doesn't Hizzonner read the papers?

But further down the story says "The Department of Homeland Security said the intelligence community believes the information is of 'doubtful' credibility.
"Still, the department shared the information with New York officials as a precaution and to allow them take whatever security steps they desired."

Not sure what to make of this. All I know is that when one of the people I work with got news of "something happening" in New York it caused an instant, stomach-knotting fear to well up.

Human behavior being what it is, I am cynical enough to wonder to what extent we as citizens are being manipulated by threats. Or the threat of threats. Or the threat that we may not have enough protection from threats. get the picture.

I know from personal experience that threats and promises are far better at shaping behavior than reality. I noticed long ago that employees became wonderfully compliant during the weeks leading up to evaluations. After the raises came through, however, there seemed to be a collective sigh as everybody got back to their old selves. Most were okay, but those who were congenitally slow or surly or glum or took long breaks...they would be back to their old familiar habits as well. Good behavior for them was nothing more than a temporary facade.

"Just wait until your father gets home!"
"If you care about getting a raise...."
"If you don't like your schedule I can make other arrangements."
"Have you spoken with the boss about that?"

You get the idea.

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