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Duct Tape?
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Gene Healy wonders why the hell anyone would need to seal themselves in a room with duct tape in case of a terrorist attack.

I'm going to try to get through this post without the comfort of profanity, but I'll need italics: can somebody tell me why the federal government is telling people to duct tape themselves inside their houses?? What possible, realistic terrorist threat is this a rational response to? Smallpox? No: smallpox is dangerous (Iraq might have some, if you care)--but it's transmitted person to person. VX gas? Anthrax? Are you serious?

I have to admit, I'm a little skeptical of this advice as well. So I went to the Red Cross Disaster Preparedness site. There's lots of good, practical advice on the page, so check it out. But they have the duct tape advice too:

If you are advised by local officials to "shelter in place," what they mean is for you to remain inside your home or office and protect yourself there. Close and lock all windows and exterior doors. Turn off all fans, heating and air conditioning systems. Close the fireplace damper. Get your disaster supplies kit, and make sure the radio is working. Go to an interior room without windows that's above ground level. In the case of a chemical threat, an above-ground location is preferable because some chemicals are heavier than air, and may seep into basements even if the windows are closed. Using duct tape, seal all cracks around the door and any vents into the room. Keep listening to your radio or television until you are told all is safe or you are told to evacuate. Local officials may call for evacuation in specific areas at greatest risk in your community.

And this is an emergency plan used in Israel as well, the whole concept of the "safe room". So is there anything to it? Or is it just cosmetic bullshit to make you feel safer, so that the government doesn't have to keep answering every question about the warnings with "Go shopping, but stay vigilant"?

I still haven't forgotten about news reports that suggested that Atta and his pals had considered using crop dusters (for what exactly, we don't know). I mean, if they made low sweeps over densely populated areas, just with commerical insectides, wouldn't that at least make lots of people sick? And would using a "safe room" protect you from such an attack? Okay, if not insecticide, are there not chemical agents that could make many people sick or kill many people that could be dispersed in such a way? Or is this all paranoid bullshit?

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