Terrorism forces us to make a choice
"Don't be afraid... Be Ready" is the message from www.ready.gov, a new website launched by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
I'll say this. I like the design. It's clean. It's accessible (though I say that in the "relatively easy to navigate, but I haven't checked actual disability accessability"). It's also, to me and a few others, unintentionally amusing.
Perhaps is the gravity of the subject matter. The site informs citizens about what they should do in response to, and how to plan for, biological, chemical, nuclear and radiological threats. All very fine and good. That's important. It's just that some of the advice seems a little, well, obvious.
For example, the section about what to do in case of a nuclear blast:
Take cover immediately, below ground if possible, though any shield or shelter will help protect you from the immediate effects of the blast and the pressure wave.
Sensible. But, of course, it's a nuclear blast. Last I heard, those were pretty fatal. Still, no sense in being pessimistic about these sorts of things. Duck-and-cover, eh?
Quickly assess the situation.
I would like to place a bet on most assessments running along the lines of "dear mother of God we're going to die," before collapsing into hysterics.
Some of the visuals are particularly encouraging. Or not, as the case may be. Again, they're clear, and illustrated in that 1950s "how to escape a flaming plane" manner. One good one is the "make a plan in a moving vehicle" graphic:
Frame one appeals to any sort of dark sense of humour. It's guaranteed to put a damper on your day, especially when you get home from work: "So, I was driving along and then HOLY FUCK THE ROAD EXPLODED." If you're still managing to keep a straight face, I dare you to glance at frame two without seeing any hint at all of suggestiveness.
Still, at least the site gives some advices as to what to do about a chemical attack:
A chemical attack is the deliberate release of a toxic gas, liquid or solid that can poison people and the environment.
Or it's just the by-product of an industrial process gone haywire. Or an intentional industrial process and a rather cold-hearted corporation. Which isn't terrorism. But can be just as bad. Hey-ho.
Many sick or dead birds, fish or small animals are also cause for suspicion.
Hang on one tension-popping minute! I've heard of rivers where that's happened! Wait. Environmental pollution again. Oops.
Oh well. It's probably just a case of my dark sense of humour. I expect to see this parodied on The Daily Show by the end of the week. It's a wonderful site, it really is.
As ever, head over to Metafilter to join in with the discussion.
41 comments and trackbacks
Feb 20, 2003 10:16 AM
The American Government have provided their citizenry with an online terror attack preparedness resource centre: Ready.gov.I never would have known
Read more in People Get Ready »
Feb 20, 2003 7:53 PM
I had trouble not filing this one under .joke. Dan Hon has a great writeup about our government's Terrorism preportation website, Ready.gov The best thing about Ready.gov is it's beautiful info-graphics. Be sure to visit the moving vehicle graphic, fir...
Read more in Ready.gov »
Someone at my job found a card that was given to soldiers in the 50's, on what to do in case of nuclear war. The point which was stressed over and over again is that there is no danger in radiation, and that the reason that the Japanese had so many casualties was due to lack of preperation. It is kind of depressing.
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