While driving down the highway carrying on with my joyful day, bound for a cool Christmas party, I was interrupted by the government to remind me that I’m going to die.
For you see, the highway information signs told me “if you see something, say something” and provided me with a number to call. This was on every single electronic sign. All of them.
So this is of course the government approved way of telling you to be vigilant for terrorism. Merry Christmas! Happy New Year! But don’t forget to watch out for pipe bombs! You don’t want to see your Holiday Season ended with some bloody flesh infused shrapnel, do you? Love, Your Government.
But the sign didn’t tell me any of this. It just said, “if you see something, say something”. Well, I see things all the time. Should I call the number every time I see something? If I didn’t think it would get me added to the terrorism watch list, I’d call that number and be like, “Hey, I ah, I see a bird. Just thought I’d say something to you about it. Talk to you all again soon.”
They also posted these signs all around my work that say the exact same thing. The government is of course doing this because they want you to know they’re on the case. They’re here to fight terrorism and keep you safe. It’s why Obama has given a couple of speeches about it lately.
Let’s leave aside for the moment that folks who actually see something tend not to say something for fear of being accused a racist, which is why the San Bernardino killers’ neighbors said nothing. This is a worthy concern when you can’t read any online publication nowadays without seeing at least two or three people accused of various kinds of racism each day. Even your 18 month old cousin is a dirty racist I’m sure.
Let’s also leave aside that probably about 100 Americans have died in domestic terrorism related gunfire since September 12th, 2001. In that time, over 400,000 Americans have died via gunfire. You can be pro-gun or anti-gun, but those are the facts.
So what’s really going on here? To me, it’s quite simple, all you need to do is read between the lines of the placard:
The Department of Homeland Security needs their logo on this, why? Why would they need to put their logo on there, why not just leave the statement as is?
Because, of course, the DHS needs to exist. The first goal of any human organization is to ensure its survival. DHS wants you to know that they care. DHS wants you to know that if you see something, you should say something. Even though you’ll never see anything.
You’ll be struck by lightning before you’ll see one pipe bomb in your life, I assure you. But thanks DHS, it’s good to know you’re there, because when we’re scared, you have a reason to exist.