Blue: Big trouble in little Pottawattamie County

Brandon Blue

“Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.” — Heinlein’s Law.

Believe me, Pottawattamie County saw a lot of the latter over the weekend.

According to the Des Moines Register, last week, the western Iowa county was to conduct a faux terrorist attack drill Saturday with white supremacists as the lead suspects in a school shooting. Evidently, a back-story was required to get the Deparment of Homeland Security to cover the cost of the exercise, which would have involved more than 300 volunteers, roughly 35 of which were “victims” to be transported to area hospitals.

But Friday, the Register broke that the exercise was canceled due to threats sent to the Treynor public schools that were involved in the event. The Register’s William Petroski quoted Treynor superintendent Kevin Elwood as saying, “They basically indicated that if we went through with this type of a drill that potentially that type of an incident could become a reality in our school district.”

Let me state that my view of race is that it’s an unavoidable, if unfortunate, byproduct of being born. So, as I continue, understand that I’m not defending any white supremacists.

But this entire situation truly bothers me. On the one side, you have bureaucratic insensitivity and shortsightedness. Don’t like illegal immigrants, but enjoy guns? So do these mass-murderers!

On the other side, you have idiotic pranksters trolling the situation. I label them so because firstly, the Register reported that the call came from outside of Iowa, and secondly, because the leaders of the Iowa Minutemen and the Minutemen Patriots have condemned the threats. People with legitimate opinions don’t vomit them forth in a spew of threat-flecked verbal diarrhea.

However, because the point of the exercise is to prepare for terrorist attacks, I fail to see why those terrorists should be Americans. Who could we possibly offend if we just said “the country of Atlantis has risen from the bottom of Storm Lake and her undead mer-children are cutting a swath toward Kansas City?” There are your malicious foreign invaders.

But why do we need to have a back story at all, especially one that maligns a certain group’s point of view? It seems to me that the responsible parties simply left their forethought on the dresser that morning when they lifted the plot of the Columbine Massacre and tweaked a few details. My money’s on the DHS, given its out-of-nowhere 2009 report claiming “The DHS/Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A) has no specific information that domestic right-wing terrorists are currently planning acts of violence, but right-wing extremists may be gaining new recruits by playing on their fears about several emergent issues.” They also may be training dragons to pick the lights off the KCCI weather tower, but for some odd reason, that doesn’t appear in the report.

The truth is that nobody wants to be associated with a terrorist, especially in a “what-if” scenario enacted by the sheriff’s department and funded by the federal government.

What bothers me the most is that the idiot or idiots who called in threats to the Treynor School District are not nearly as malicious as they are cripplingly moronic. Even though I disagree with the back story, I recognize that the drill’s purpose is to better prepare the community for a terrorist attack, not to make people angry. Evidently, truths that lie further than the bridge of their noses escape these trolls.

For what it’s worth, I can tell you from firsthand experience that white supremacists rising up and shooting people in any kind of coordinated fashion is unlikely in Iowa.

Last fall, I covered an Aryan Nations rally at the Capitol in Des Moines, only it turned out to be nothing more than a counter-rally to a demonstration that never happened. The Aryan Nations never showed up, except for two members, and the myriad of protesters were left holding bags of dildos with no one to wave them at.

I don’t believe bigotry will get to the point of planned-out terrorist attacks in America. Too many good people, too many true Americans, act against racism when they find it and condemn it when they see it.

As long as the waving dildos outnumber the racists, freedom will prevail.