Indiana Terrorist Target Extravaganza
Topic: Indianapolis Living
According to a "National Asset Database" report by the Department of Homeland Security, Indiana has 8,591 potential terrorist targets, making us the most popular state ever. On the same list, New York has 5,687 assets, and California has 3,212. The list ranks amusement parks and petting zoos with the same priority as major business and financial centers, which is causing consternation among lawmakers and amusement in the media. There are similar discrepancies within the database concerning other smaller and less populated states in comparison to large population bases.
The database is used to help determine how funding for national security is distributed to the states, and may have contributed to a program in May that cut funding to New York and Washington, D.C. while increasing funds to midwestern states -- a program that's widely considered to be flawed.
The inconsistencies seem to be occuring because the states themselves compile their lists of assets, and the guidelines for doing so are inconsistent from state to state.
The New York Times interviewed one Indiana "asset" about his company's appearance on the list of potential targets:
One business owner who learned from a reporter that a company named Amish Country Popcorn was on the list was at first puzzled. The businessman, Brian Lehman, said he owned the only operation in the country with that name.
“I am out in the middle of nowhere,” said Mr. Lehman, whose business in Berne, Ind., has five employees and grows and distributes popcorn. “We are nothing but a bunch of Amish buggies and tractors out here. No one would care.”
But on second thought, he came up with an explanation: “Maybe because popcorn explodes?”
The list is due to be reviewed and prioritized according to significance of the targets, and states will be given consistent guidelines for reporting potential terrorist targets in the future.
But just for a few minutes there, didn't you feel really important?
UPDATE: The Indy Star interviews our state's Indiana Department of Homeland Security, who defended their zealous list of assets, saying “We knew how we came up with our list. We looked at it in the other direction: Why wouldn’t the other ones (states) have more?”
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