Yak Attack

A place to unwind and spend some time yakking.

Monday, April 03, 2006

The good mixed in with the bad

On the surface, the Handbook appears to be a helpful document. It does give disaster preparation information and checklists. It has detailed instructions and illustrations showing how to turn off your utilities in an emegency.

Mixed in with the benign, there's ironic humor that borders on macabre. The cartoon page demostrating how to cover your cough and clean your hands after coughing and sneezing is followed by the introduction about terrorism. Fielding a bomb threat phone call, including a handy-dandy check list, is in the same book as hot weather precautions. Go figure.

Explanations about how to "shelter-in-place,"-- duct-tape plastic over the windows, doors and electrical outlets to prevent what's bad outside from drifting inside-- pop up through out the scarier portions of the Handbook. Simple descriptions about chemical agents and radioactive materials, followed by tips, precede more detailed information on specific biological agents. Even though I'd never heard of Tularemia before September 24, 2005, here it is in the Handbook, revision date January 2005. I've been living under a rock, for sure.

After Lew and I read through it, we both came down with a serious case of heebie-jeebies. Is the Handbook the warning siren, alerting citizens to what awaits them, to be brought forth by some seamless source? The conspiracy theorist within is saying, "Yes. Yup. That's spot on." I looked at the Handbook as a half-empty glass. A heaviness weighed down my soul after reading it.

Today, the prepared person within me is trying to say that the glass is actually half full. The Handbook's contents isn't any great surprise. At least it gives some warning of what may come and supplies information. It's up to me to check out the validity of the tips and see if any of the more serious ones are worth the paper they're printed on.


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