DHS campaign is creating paranoia
Published: Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, September 28, 2011 17:09
"If you see something, say something."
That is the trademarked message the Department of Homeland Security seems hell-bent on drilling into the mind of the American public.
The campaign is described as "a simple and effective program to raise public awareness of indicators of terrorism and violent crime," according to the DHS website.
But the ever-present "see something, say something" campaign is beginning to look like Stasi-styled propaganda, designed to exploit our fears and create a culture of paranoia.
In shopping malls, transit stations and sports stadiums across the country, the DHS is rolling out a taxpayer-funded ad campaign that encourages Americans to harbor distrust and snitch at the slightest suspicion. The campaign is a bid to convince Americans that terrorism remains a persistent, deadly threat. However, statistics tell a different story.
"Even with the September 11 attacks included in the count, the number of Americans killed by international terrorism since the late 1960s … is about the same as the number of Americans killed over the same period by lightning, accident-causing deer or severe allergic reaction to peanuts," said John Mueller, an Ohio State University professor, in a report titled "A False Sense of Insecurity?" published in Regulation Magazine.
The department is quick to point out that upholding civil rights and liberties is a critical part of its mission. But policies like the USA PATRIOT Act or the use of Transportation and Security Administration body scanners and grope-downs call these assurances into question.
Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano is already being compared to the pervasive, authoritarian character of Big Brother from George Orwell's 1984. Her talking head is seen chanting the "see something, say something" mantra on television screens in Walmart stores across the country.
Homeland Security has partnered with the NFL and other sports leagues to help educate the public on how fearful they should be of terrorism. The campaign slogan is displayed on stadium jumbotrons while fans must wait in longer lines thanks to the new "enhanced" pat downs the NFL recently announced.
Coffee-cup sleeves are also starting to carry the slogan, along with an image of Big Brother's watchful eye, according to news site the Daily Caller. There is an iPhone app called PatriotApp, making it easy for users to report threats to authorities.
Although I am all for public safety and vigilance, there is no benefit in bombarding the public with this message of fear. We are close to altogether abandoning hope for a peaceful society, and now the grim future of state security is upon us.
It seems this administration is trying to steer attention away from actual threats and onto a faceless bogeyman. Meanwhile, financial terrorists on Wall Street are rigging the controlled demolition of the global economy with weapons of mass destruction called derivatives and naked credit default swaps.
Instead of spying on their neighbors, Americans should stay abreast of the coming economic collapse and dollar crisis, much more dire threats to health and safety than international terrorism.
Life spent under the confines of a police state is far from the life of liberty envisioned by our founding fathers.
To paraphrase Benjamin Franklin, "Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither."