ABC's Homeland Security Usa, New documentary? Or propagand?

@xfahctor (14131)
Lancaster, New Hampshire
December 9, 2008 10:13am CST
Many of you know my mixxed feelings on our homeland security department. While I suuport the overall purpose of the agency, the means, regulations and tactics are seriously in constitutional question. A new ABC documentary follows their activites in a weekly reality show entitled "Homeland Security U.S.A.". while it may highlight the job they do and the risks they take everyday protecting our homeland, could this become a tool to draw attention away from these many of the objections the public have over some of the questionable tactics and policies exercised by the administration and the department?
1 response
• United States
10 Dec 08
I'll have to try to watch the show. One of the things that I know through research for other work is that the DHS is also tasked with dealing with national security during incidents of natural disasters and accidents. One major part of the department is a communications framework and infrastructure to quickly report and help coordinate responses to things like floods, chemical spills and major fires. A lot of the grants that have been provided through the department have been to equip local police, fire and emergency services with communications equipment and to train workers in setting up a command structure quickly and efficiently so that the disaster can be dealt with and escalated if necessary. I got to see this in action when a nearby town had a chemical emergency with their water supply - apparently, a worker over-chlorinated by a very large magnitude. The response was incredibly coordinated - within an hour of the first report from a town resident about the problem (they'd stepped into the shower and been chemically burned by the water), the town had used the reverse 911 system and a cell-phone text system to notify most of the town's residents about the situation and advise them not to use the water for any purpose. By noon, they'd pulled in the National Guard to set up a shower station in the center of town and emergency workers from all the surrounding towns had arrived to go door to door and continue with the alert. Local stores contributed bottled water and emergency service workers handed it out while a team analyzed the water and tracked down the source of the problem. It was several days before the water supply was completely back to safe, but the swift handling of the situation prevented any panic and made sure that people had what they needed (including daily showers) until everything was back to normal. A lot of these lessons were learned in the mishandling of Katrina, and the after effects of this year's hurricanes show that there are still some major gaps in implementation. I do have major problems with some of the sweeping powers that have been given the Department of Homeland Security, and one of the things that really bothers me is that THIS aspect of homeland security gets short shrift in relation to the dangers of terrorist attack - the fact is that natural events and accidents are far more common and present just as much danger. One of the things I appreciate about Obama is that he recognizes this and has voiced his support for taking a closer look at emergency management as a facet of national security (and yes, I'm not wild about FEMA being under the aegis of HS - but I think the emergency response system that works for one SHOULD be used for both... why develop two different parallel systems? It's a total waste of money and time)