(At the risk of getting anyone in trouble, forgive me for being slightly vague here)
A close relative of mine works in a government job in the Orland Park, IL area. For those of you unfamiliar with Chicagoland, Orland Park is a completely typical suburb, the kind in which bad rite-de-passage movies are set. Malls, strip malls, more strip malls, subdivisions, gated subdivisions, and more strip malls.
The office in which this person works was informed this morning by the FBI that they have information that leads them to believe that "malls and schools" may be targeted by terrorists and that they have "specific information" stating that the Orland Square Mall on LaGrange Road is being targeted for an attack.
I'll let that sink in for a moment. Re-read that paragraph until it strikes you as the most ridiculous thing you've ever heard, at which point you may proceed.
OK. Let's start with the "schools and malls are targets" premise. Great. Can I ask what categories of structures aren't on the list of potential targets yet? Ridge and the boys have issued warnings about banks, monuments, financial centers, stadiums, skyscrapers, courthouses, government offices, power plants, factories, train stations, airports, parking garages, tourist facilities, military bases, pup tents, mud huts, Pueblos, unmanned weather stations, geodesic domes, and suspiciously large hats. What purpose could an additional specific warning about schools and malls serve except to rachet up the hysteria a little more?
We get it, dipshits. Everything everywhere is a target 24 hours a day, and only George Bush can protect us. We get it. OK.
As for "specific information" concerning the Orland Square Mall. What can I even say except that anyone who is alarmed by this news can take comfort in the tremendous reliability of "specific information" and "sources" over the past 3 years. If the source turned out to be anything more credible than a 12 year old hanging out in Hot Topic, I'd eat my ass.
This sort of thing is a symptom of the advanced stages of complete hysteria. Anyone in their right mind would step back, take an objective look at this situation, and realize that Al Qaeda is not targeting a nondescript mall in an achingly irconsequential suburb. Logic would dictate that their list of targets is not:
1. World Trade Center
3. White House
4. Orland Square Mall
I can't tell if this speaks to a complete breakdown of the nation's ability to think critically or simply a crass need for irrelevant people with boring lives to feel important enough to be targeted for terrorism. But in either case I can think of little to alleviate my dumbfoundedness at the moment.