A homeland security degree has to prepare you for a lot of things, though coincidentally a big part of the curriculum is “everything not on the curriculum.” You have to expect the unexpected and then – and this is the important bit – deal with it in a sensible way. The whole point of a homeland security degree is to be a useful human being in a security or crisis situation, and that’s a lot more difficult than you might think.
But even a Time Lord with extra training by MI5 and GI Joe couldn’t have expected some of the crazy things that happen in the real world. That’s why we’ve found some extra things you need to watch out for with a homeland security degree.
We like to imagine a huge battle of good versus evil, but it’s usually more trained people versus idiots. It turns out terrorism doesn’t attract the stablest or most productive members of society and the sort of person prepared to walk around with a pile of high explosive isn’t doing it because he got bored waiting for NASA and the Playboy Bunnies to call him back. These people have nothing else worth doing with their lives, and a big part of that is “not very good with complicated tasks. Like detonators.”
A Chilean anarchist got entirely too acquainted with chaos and disorder when he tried to plant a time bomb on a local bank. You know how sometimes when you’re setting the alarm and it starts screaming right then? And how you’re not a lunatic, so it doesn’t blow up and take your hands and eyesight? You know twice as much as he does now.
Those with homeland security degrees need a sophisticated blend of paranoia and common sense. While almost anything could be a bomb, the fact we still exist means that most of them aren’t. This distinction was subjected to interplanetary strain in Chicago, where the Millenium Park was evacuated because of a Doctor Who fan’s sophisticated costume and props. The Whovian had built a “doohicky”, a classic science-fiction kludge of wires and machinery and you can already understand why this caused a public panic when he left it next to a monument, can’t you?
If the world could erase evil or idiocy, we’d be far better off getting rid of the stupid. Movies tell us that most of the truly evil are outright geniuses – if we could just convince them to create patents for their nuclear moon lasers instead of trying to use them, we’d be living in the space age and they’d all be billionaires (just like they always wanted.) Anyone with a homeland security degree will quickly find out it’s the idiots who are the real risk. Taking dangerous items into a crowded area requires evil, intent, planning and careful preparation, or just being too stupid not to and casually breezing in without a care in the world.
It’s the latter group who are the real risk, because they don’t look suspicious. They genuinely don’t know they’re doing anything wrong. One such man was arrested at Sacramento International Airport for trying to bring a loaded handgun on the plane. And yes, it was loaded when they found it in his backpack, meaning that he was an idiot before he got anywhere near the airport. And whoever trusted him to store a gun wasn’t so bright either.
In proof that stupidity cancels out self-awareness, the man specifically talked to local reporters to make sure people knew he’d forgotten about the gun, that he wasn’t stupid enough to intentionally try and bring a gun on a plane. No, he’s stupid enough to forget he’s carrying a live weapon!