School systems all over the country are in semi-panic mode over a report from the Department of Homeland Security. The story goes that the US Army in Iraq found a couple of computer disks with pictures and other information about schools in several states. However, read down through the over-hyped headlines and you arrive at this:
The Department of Homeland Security official said the material was associated with a person in Iraq, and it could not be established that this person had any ties to terrorism. He did have a connection to civic groups doing planning for schools in Iraq, the official said.
These vague, frequent, non-specific "terror alert" headlines do nothing to serve the public good and certainly don’t make us any safer. But there’s plenty of blame to go around in this one. Homeland Security has an election to win, of course, and well-placed boogie man warnings boost the boss. As for the “news” media, Martha Stewart avoided the phalanx of cameras when she went to prison this morning and the talking-heads networks have run out of Michael Jackson/Scott Petersen crap to dish. So, I guess they have to find their fresh headlines somewhere.