Friday, April 07, 2006

Terror at Mayfair?

My fellow community columnist Janice Eisen is critical of pork in the budget and, in particular, a congressional culture that encourages members to bring dollars home.

I agree with Janice's larger point (this may be a first!), but I am not so sure I agree with her obligatory "local" hook, i.e., the allocation of some funds to prevent terrorism at Mayfair Mall. While I don't want to get bogged down on security cameras at a shopping mall, I do want to think about one of her base presuppositions.
"Milwaukee", she writes, "is hardly a likely target. One benefit of living in "flyover country" is that we are apt to be as low on any terrorists' radar as we are on Los Angeles'."

Is that true? One of the difficulties in relying too much on profiling is screening security threats is that terrorists are likely to figure that out and learn how to use it to avoid detection. Assuming that an attack would occur in New York or Los Angeles seems to court the same danger. If the idea is to kill alot of people, why not go where you are not expected. Shopping malls and sporting events in Milwauukee or, for that matter, Iowa City attract large numbers of people to a confined space. While I can imagine terrorists wishing to strike something prominent (and therefore symbolic)like the World Trade Center, I can also imagine them selecting a target because no one expects it. In fact, you could argue that such a target is even more likely to achieve the most important objective of terror, i.e., spreading fear through the civilian population, because no one would feel safe as Janice, here in Milwaukee, apparently does.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree with the Shark and not just because I want some new jewelry. I found Ms. Eisen's assumptions about the liklihood of terrorism in middle America to be smug and extremely naive. The terrorists primary goal is to kill the infidels. Isn't it only logical that as security becomes tighter at the more "attractive" targets, that our enemies would turn their attentions to softer targets (which would include malls in small to mid size American cities)? I was recently at Mayfair on a Saturday afternoon and had difficulty finding a place to park due to the crowd. The evildoers don't care if their victims are riding the subways in NYC or celebrating a rare victory on a Monday night at Lambeau. That is if Brett ever makes up his mind.