The other day, the New York Times told us about some key sites that are listed as terror targets in the National Asset Database. According to a report by the Department of Homeland Security's inspector general, the list includes sites such as these:
- Old MacDonald?s Petting Zoo (Woodville, AL)
- the Apple and Pork Festival (Clinton, IL)
- the Amish Country Popcorn factory (Berne, IN)
- the Mule Day Parade (Columbia, TN)
- the Sweetwater Flea Market (50 miles from Knoxville, TN)
The National Asset Database, as it is known, is so flawed, the inspector general found, that as of January, Indiana, with 8,591 potential terrorist targets, had 50 percent more listed sites than New York (5,687) and more than twice as many as California (3,212), ranking the state the most target-rich place in the nation.Lower-level department officials, according to the audit, agreed that some information in the database "was of low quality and that they had little faith in it."
I should say. And so we get into more security theatre, wherein we're as worried, or moreso, about terrorist attacks on events and sites such as these as we are about attacks on sites of significant symbolic value. Of course, Senator Charles "I'm On the News at Every Opportunity" Schumer has something to say about it: "This report is the smoking gun that thoroughly indicts the system." Well... yeah. It turns out that the list was compiled using input from the states, and, not surprisingly, some states listed a lot of things that the country as a whole ought to consider minor.
What we ought to really be concerned about (though I can't say that I have any idea what we can do about it) is the idea that someone who truly wanted to terrorize us would just start bombing buses and cafes. What's more frightening: knowing that someone might take out a county fair or a large office building... or knowing that you can't get on a bus or score a cappuccino without wondering whether you'll be blown up?