Monday, March 25, 2013

Patriot Games

Working for a government facility for some time has really opened my eyes regarding how the wider world views Americans and their decadent, capitalistic institutions. Specifically, there seems to be enough of a credible threat against us in the form of terrorist factions, that they require us to be ever vigilant in the ways of the militants. For example, we are required to spend at least 45% of our time at work preparing for the inevitable attacks and learning to quickly recognize when a terrorist calls us directly on our office phones with word of an impending threat. This training takes the form of excessively thick manuals and instructional videos.

Attached to every phone in my work place is a bomb threat checklist. It is secured to the phone with a thick, inflexible titanium cable that is about 15-in long. If we should recognize that a terrorist has called us, we are to ask him to help us fill out a survey so that we can make sure he is not a faker. If our survey tells us that the threat is credible, then we are to keep the caller on the line a bit longer so that we can ask him to tell us how we can defuse any booby traps or bombs that he has liberally sprinkled in and around our site. You would be surprised to know how many terrorists are willing to hang on the phone and work their way with you through a 20 page checklist. This shows their dedication to their craft.

On the checklist, one of the areas to fill out is a section labeled "Background Noises", i.e. sounds that we can distinguish as we listen to the potential terrorist. Some of the items on this list include: House Noises, Crockery, Bar Sounds, Kids Crying, and Animal Noises. As Dave Barry would say, "I am not making this up." The very next part of the checklist asks us to get the caller to tell us about his accent. Some possibilities include: Polish, Pakistani, Belgian, Indo-European, and Foreign. If I cannot identify the who, what, where, when, and how from questions like these, then I am clearly not a true patriot.