The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced a new partnership with the retail giant Wal-Mart as part of its “If You See Something, Say Something” campaign.
In the airport, Americans are now faced with the choice of allowing the Transportation Security Administration to molest them and their families or view their naked bodies if they want to travel. On the internet, the private sector is happily carrying out state censorship with PayPal, Mastercard, Amazon, and other companies doing everything in their power to shut down the whistle blowers’ website Wikileaks. Now, in the latest of a string of policies purportedly helping to keep the American people safe, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced a new partnership with the retail giant Wal-Mart as part of its “If You See Something, Say Something” campaign.
Over 230 Wal-Mart stores across the nation began airing DHS video messages at select checkout stations on Monday, with a total of 588 Wal-Mart stores in 27 states planning to roll out the program in the coming weeks. The message thanks Wal-Mart for its participation in the program and implores shoppers to report any suspicious activity to a Wal-Mart manager or the proper authorities immediately.
“Homeland security starts with hometown security, and each of us plays a critical role in keeping our country and communities safe,” said Secretary Napolitano, “I applaud Wal-Mart for joining the ‘If You See Something, Say Something’ campaign. This partnership will help millions of shoppers across the nation identify and report indicators of terrorism, crime and other threats to law enforcement authorities.”
Wal-Mart is not the only company the DHS is partnering with. The DHS’ partners already include the Mall of America, the American Hotel and Lodging Association, Amtrak, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, sports and general aviation industries, and this could only be the beginning.
According to the DHS website, “the Department will continue to expand the “‘If You See Something, Say Something” campaign nationally with public education materials and outreach tools designed to help America’s businesses, communities and citizens remain vigilant and play an active role in keeping the country safe.”
Some applaud the new program as an easy and relatively unobtrusive way for the government to encourage Americans to stay alert while others find that it sends a cold chill running down their spine. In fact, it is difficult for some to think about these sort of ambiguous “security” messages being broadcast so widely without being reminded of George Orwell’s 1984. To them, the irrational culture of fear and submission these sorts of messages perpetuate is more dangerous than terrorism itself.
After all, the TSA has never stopped a single attempted terrorist attack, but it has greatly infringed on the liberties of regular Americans. The information leaked by Wikileaks has never resulted in the known death of even a single person, but it has prompted a governmental backlash and sent senators scrambling to draft new legislation to restrict freedom of information on the web. So, what are the DHS’ video messages actually going to accomplish? Are they really going to save any American lives?
Or, are they simply going to further inundate the American public with the irrational fear behind the idea that safety must come at the price of freedom?