Is Your Neighbor Going Back to School or On a New DIY Project? DHS Says You May Need to Report Them!
Written by Sam Orlando
STAUNTON, VIRGINIA - In a bid to make America safer, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has launched a campaign to remind citizens to report suspicious activities. With the tagline, "If you see something, say something," DHS presents its newest tool in the war against potential threats: the If you See Something, Say Something "tip card":
The All-Seeing Eye of the DHS
This pocket-sized primer provides a list of 'suspicious activities' that every patriotic American should be on the lookout for. From the incredibly pertinent, like "Weapons Collection/Storage" to the puzzlingly vague, such as "Eliciting Information," one wonders if we are straddling the line between genuine security concerns and the inadvertent creation of a nation of paranoid snitches.
Redefining 'Suspicious Activity'
One of the more ambiguous tips includes “Photography,” specifically when someone is "taking pictures or videos of persons, facilities, buildings, or infrastructure in a covert manner." With the rise of smartphones and the relentless Instagram thirst for the perfect shot, it's hard to imagine that every covert selfie-taker or architectural enthusiast is up to no good.
From Snapshots to Sabotage
And let's not forget “Acquisition of Expertise.” So, every time your neighbor tries to DIY their plumbing based on a YouTube tutorial or your cousin joins a flight school, they could be considered potential security threats.
Weaponizing Neighborly Relations?
Such guidelines raise the question: Are we venturing too close to weaponizing everyday Americans against one another? In a society where community should be at the forefront, are we running the risk of casting suspicion on our neighbors, all in the name of "national security"?
Of course, some indicators on the list, like “Weapons Collection/Storage” or “Cyberattack,” hold more universally accepted merit. Yet, when mixed with borderline mundane activities, it becomes easy to misinterpret or misreport innocent behaviors.
Deciphering the Real Threats
As the country continues to grapple with issues of privacy, freedom, and security, it’s imperative to strike the right balance. Ensuring public safety should not come at the cost of public trust.
The DHS undoubtedly faces a mammoth task in keeping the nation secure. Still, it's essential to ensure that in trying to foster a vigilant society, we don't inadvertently create a nation peeking through their curtains, misinterpreting every move of their fellow citizen.
In the era of sharing and over-sharing, perhaps what we need is a clearer distinction between what constitutes genuine threats and everyday activities. Until then, one can only hope that America's future isn't filled with dubious calls about "that teenager sketching the town hall" or "that guy practicing his speech in the park."
For now, the "tip card" remains downloadable on the DHS website, offering Americans a chance to form their opinions on its relevance and applicability. Let’s just hope that the pursuit of security doesn’t lead to the erosion of trust.