I accidentally clicked on an ad for the Department of Homeland Security website ready.gov
and was predictably annoyed. The three main "calls-to-action" on the frontpage are "Ready Business," "Ready America," and "Ready Kids (coming soon". "Ready Business" comes first? Before hospitals, schools, and local governments? Before the individual citizen? Before families and churchs
? Okay, fine, though I'm getting really sick of this constant worship of the private for-profit sector. Then there's the headline for the "Ready America" (or individual's) portal: "Terrorism Forces Us To Make A Choice: Don't Be Afraid--Be Ready." Under the headline Be Informed About What Might Happen
, the choices are: Biological Threat, Chemical Threat, Explosions, Nuclear Blast, Radiation Threat, Natural Disasters--in that order. This reminds of two good points Matthew Yglesias recently brought up on his blog: Terrorism doesn't kill that many people
compared to many other kinds of somewhat preventable death, and this administrationn (and its allies) seems bent on conceiving of it as an enormous and implacable enemy
. Instead of making terrorism the organizing principle, we really ought to make safety the organizing principle.