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Homerland Sekurity saves us from EXPLODING SCHOOLBUSES..?

Discussion in 'Legal' started by Manedwolf, Feb 19, 2006.

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  1. Manedwolf

    Manedwolf member

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    Good lord. Well, I feel safer, don't you? Where DO they get these ideas? Check out the highlighted "scenario"... your taxpayer dollars put to good use!

    Now, about that southern border thing and those port things...

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    School Bus Drivers Join the Terror Watch

    By BEN FELLER, AP Education WriterFri Feb 17, 11:39 PM ET

    The war on terror has a new front line — the school bus line. Financed by the Homeland Security Department, school bus drivers are being trained to watch for potential terrorists, people who may be casing their routes or plotting to blow up their buses.

    Designers of the School Bus Watch program want to turn 600,000 bus drivers into an army of observers, like a counterterrorism watch on wheels. Already mindful of motorists with road rage and kids with weapons, bus drivers are now being warned of far more grisly scenarios.

    Like this one: terrorists monitor a punctual driver for weeks, then hijack a bus and load the friendly yellow vehicle with enough explosives to take down a building. (from me: like they couldn't buy a junkyard one and repaint it...?)

    An alert school bus driver could foil that plan, security expert Jeffrey Beatty recently told a class of 250 of drivers in Norfolk, Va. After all, bus drivers cover millions of miles of roads. They know the towns, the kids, the parents.

    "The terrorist is not going to be able to do some of their casing and rehearsal activity without being detected by one of you," said Beatty, an anti-terrorism veteran of the CIA, FBI and the Army's Delta Force. The more people watching, he told the drivers, the safer the community will be.

    With bus drivers becoming informal intelligence gatherers, the reach of homeland security is growing — not exactly what parents think of when their kids head to the bus stop.

    The program demands strong oversight, said John Rollins, a former senior Homeland Security intelligence official now with Congressional Research Service.

    Otherwise, he said, some bus drivers could think of themselves as undercover agents.

    "Today it's bus drivers, tomorrow it could be postal officials, and the next day, it could be, 'Why don't we have this program in place for the people who deliver the newspaper to the door?'" Rollins said. "We could quickly get into a society where we're all spying on each other. It may be well intentioned, but there is a concern of going a bit too far." (You think?!)

    Most school bus drivers do the job part-time, often to supplement other income. Many are retirees, mothers with young children, people between jobs, or school employees who also work as mechanics, janitors or classroom aides, according to government and industry officials.

    The drivers are not being trained to be police. Their role is to report suspicious behavior to dispatchers, who alert the police and funnel tips to a national analysis center.

    The new effort is part of Highway Watch, an industry safety program run by the American Trucking Associations and financed since 2003 with $50 million in homeland security money.

    Leaders of Highway Watch worked with the school bus industry to tailor training for drivers, who are trusted each day to ferry 25 million children to and from school.

    So far, tens of thousands of bus operators have been trained in places large and small, from Dallas and New York City to Kure Beach, N.C., Hopewell, Va., and Mt. Pleasant, Texas.

    "As a bus driver, going down the same streets and going into the same neighborhoods every day, you know when there's a car that shouldn't be there," said Bob Pearson, who drives a school bus in Fairfax County, Va. "You have to realize that a school bus goes everywhere."

    When he worked as a homicide detective, Pearson gathered tips from everyone on the roads — truck drivers, trash men, mail workers. So to him, recruiting bus drivers is logical.

    Down in Norfolk, Shelita Hill, a driver for 23 years, acknowledged that she never thought of her school bus as a target of terrorism until she heard Beatty speak. Neither had many others in the class.

    "He woke us up," Hill said.

    Schools are the kind of target that terrorists want, Beatty said: a place where an attack could have huge symbolic impact and lead to mass casualties and spectacular images.

    To underscore the point, he reminded drivers of Beslan, Russia, where terrorists stormed a school in 2004, killing 331 adults and children in a storm of gunfire and explosions.

    In Virginia, bus drivers were taught how to identify and evaluate unusual activity. What drew your attention to this person in the first place? Is someone unfamiliar taking photos or drawing sketches of the area? Is the person asking a lot of questions about the bus route?

    Then the drivers got tips on how to report what they saw: Jot down facts immediately. Back away from the situation to get a broader view. Are there accomplices?

    Next came the security sweep. Drivers were shown how to inspect their buses, not just for routine maintenance flaws, but also for tampering by terrorists. A bus has lots of hiding places for a bomb — the glove box, luggage bins, the engine compartment, the first-aid kit.

    Victor Manuele, a longtime school bus driver in New York and now in Norfolk, said he has been doing pre-trip safety inspections for years. Just not for explosives.

    "I don't think I ever thought about, 'Oh, well, here, let me check my bus for a bomb,'" Manuele said after the training. "So, you know, all of that stuff is very helpful."

    Kenneth Trump, a school safety consultant who tracks security trends, said being prepared is not being alarmist. "Denying and downplaying schools and school buses as potential terror targets here in the U.S.," Trump said, "would be foolish."

    When drivers finish their training, they get confidential School Bus Watch ID numbers. They are reminded never to profile people as suspicious based on culture or ethnicity.

    "They know what looks right and what looks wrong," Beatty said. "All we can do is ask them to use their judgment."
     
  2. Merkin.Muffley

    Merkin.Muffley member

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    I hope they start opening those kids lunch boxes before they board the bus - who knows what sort of devious device might be hiding in a Sponge Bob lunch box?
     
  3. IndianaDean

    IndianaDean Member

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    I guess the government will ban lunch boxes.:rolleyes:
     
  4. LAR-15

    LAR-15 Member

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    They blow up kids on buses in Israel
     
  5. GTSteve03

    GTSteve03 Member

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    They blow up buildings in the US with Ryder trucks.

    I don't see a ban on Ryder trucks...


    yet.
     
  6. IndianaDean

    IndianaDean Member

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    Teachers and bus drivers in Israel by contrast are required to be armed to combat terrorism. If we're under such a threat, why aren't they arming the teachers in the US and allowing us to carry firearms at the schools and on buses?
     
  7. Biker

    Biker Member

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    "They" are not doing that here, at this point. Seems to me that at this time, energy and funds commited to this feel-good program would be better commited to preventing the potential Ts from gaining entry to this country, and failing that, tracking them down and deporting them as per the ICE mission statement.
    Make sense to you?
    Does to me.
    Biker
     
  8. LAR-15

    LAR-15 Member

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    Terrorists would love to hi-jack a bus and commit a bunch of abortions for Allah.
     
  9. LAR-15

    LAR-15 Member

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    So protecting kids from terrorism is a waste of monies?
     
  10. Manedwolf

    Manedwolf member

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    Straw man. Total straw man argument in that question.

    The question is "is this is most effective means of protecting kids from terrorism"? ...especially when the borders are wide open.
     
  11. Old Dog

    Old Dog Member

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    I don't have a problem with this at all. First, as LAR-15 pointed out, children and school buses have frequently been targeted in Israel. I happened to be in Haifa when one such incident took place.

    It make sense that terrorists would go after soft targets here, especially targets which they know would have the most emotional impact on us.

    The program is probably not, in the great scheme of things, unduly costly. It seems to make sense to make use of the millions of eyes we have on our roadways (in the forms of truck and bus drivers) to keep alert for potential threats.
     
  12. Biker

    Biker Member

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    Nope. Not at all. Spending the money wisely is the key. Dealing with the turds *after* they gain entrance is infantile, and allowing them to remain here illegaly is worse. Most of the Saudis who perped 911 were here on expired visas. Ya think that if we had enforced existing laws, we might have prevented that tradgedy? Just possibly?
    Biker
     
  13. Manedwolf

    Manedwolf member

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    And this couldn't be, say, just handing out happy meaningless civil defense hats and badges as they did in the 1950's, but WITHOUT at the same time going after the bigger threats?

    I mean, look at the article: "When drivers finish their training, they get confidential School Bus Watch ID numbers. "

    Wow! They get an Official Secret ID Number, even! They can feel like special undercover agents, instead of just...uh...bus drivers!

    Waste. Of. Time.
    Waste. Of. Money.
    Waste. Of. Resources.

    Borders: wide open
    Ports: unsecured AND sold to Islamists

    But...ignore all that. Duck and Cover, you got your special secret badge!
     
  14. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Member

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    WARNING! BEFORE reading farther, please read the disclaimer at the end of the post.

    I heard that terrorists were practicing to blow up buses but decided it was a bad idea. Apparently they gave up after finding out how painful it was to burn their lips on the exhaust pipes.
     
  15. Old Dog

    Old Dog Member

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    You can make fun of programs such as this all you want. Usually, the most effective preventive measures are the simplest, and involve involving those in routine positions who are part of a daily routine. If you've ever lived in a foreign country where there exist multiple types of violent threats, you'd understand this.

    The borders can be sealed airtight and we'll still see terrorists getting into this country. One might reasonably presume that the terrorists we need to be worried about are those already here, who've been living here for some time ... It doesn't take a super-secret, highly trained, former SEAL counter-terrorist agent to detect a threat; it could just as well be bakery truck driver noticing something out of the ordinary during his routine early morning deliveries.
     
  16. Biker

    Biker Member

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    Yeah, rumor has it that I spent time in countries resembling those you describe.
    Fact is, you don't have to shoot the burglar if you prevent him from entering your house in the first place. You know, burglar alarms, fences that kind of thing? 'Course, that may be just too simple of a solution. Hmmmm?
    Biker
     
  17. Old Dog

    Old Dog Member

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    Sorry, Biker. It's just not that simple. Unless you really do want to live in that dreaded "police state."
    So what would "secure borders" look like to you?
     
  18. IndianaDean

    IndianaDean Member

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    Preventing the burglar from entering my home in the first place will likely make them pick a home that doesn't not have safeguards, and possibly no other defenses. What happens when that poor person discovers the burglar?

    Burglar alarms, dogs, etc are not cheap. For many of us purchasing and training with a firearm is a much more affordable and practical option.
     
  19. NukemJim

    NukemJim Member

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    Tighten the border security certainly. Try to stop them before coming in yes. BUT Some terrorists are almost certainly here and if you think that people cannot sneak in no matter how much you tighten the border security I believe that you are mistaken.

    In Beslan the scool had been under observation from the village both prior to and during the attack.

    We ARE going to be hit sooner or later. Shools are a high probability. I say that due to report on news services of AQ members being caught in Iraq with the emergency response plans to schools in 6 different states :what:

    AQ has also planned and praticed such an attack. I have pesonally seen an AQ training video (Captured in Afghanastan) showing AQ's taking over a school with targets and roleplayers (both children and adult)Shouting commands in ENGLISH.

    1 Week after watching that video in a training seminar Beslan occured.
    Wierded me out and scared the bejeebers out of me and my girlfriend ( she was also at the seminar )

    I would LOVE to be wrong on this, but we are going to be hit. Anything we can do to stop it from happening should be done but the realityis it may make it less expensive in terms of lives lost. But some lives will be lost.:cuss: :banghead: :( :fire:

    NukemJim

    NukemJim
     
  20. Jim March

    Jim March Member

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    School districts sell their used buses complete with the paint job. Only the school name (or district name) is spray-painted out. Churches buy 'em, and people often convert them to RVs, the term for such is "skoolies". They're often priced down in the $5k range.

    Just add paint, psycho and bomb :(.
     
  21. Manedwolf

    Manedwolf member

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    That's what I would consider a more worthwhile program. Put controls and checks on the sales of "high level of trust" vehicles such as schoolbuses, ambulances, and taxis. Particularly ambulances. Imagine that, they make one into a giant bomb, and all the cars get out of the way as it speeds to its target...which could be a place where a smaller bomb has already gone off as a precursor to cause a crowd of evacuating people.

    Being that insurgents blew up a stolen ambulance in Iraq, I'm sure they've thought of it. That's the sort of thing we as taxpayers are PAYING the homeland security people to think of...and they're not. They can't even secure the borders.
     
  22. Kamicosmos

    Kamicosmos Member

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    I think it was around this time last year that I read of an Identical Plan to edumacate truckers to become a fleet of counter-terrorist observers.
     
  23. Lucky

    Lucky Member

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    Probably just bureaucracy doing a power grab, some bureaucrat hopes to get his own department some day, that sort of thing.

    There's nothing stopping drivers from being alert and reporting stuff they see already. They probably have a system already set up for reporting suspicious persons that's been in place for decades.

    But that's too much freedom, you need to have a boss and a commisar... As a bonus, if concerned individuals wish to be armed, since they are told terrorists plan to hijack their bus, it would be a privledge they'd be granted by the dept, not the exercise of a right...

    Or maybe I've seen too much bureaucracy and power-games and I'm jaded now.
     
  24. spartacus2002

    spartacus2002 Member

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  25. Camp David

    Camp David member

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    Sorry Manedwolf... I disagree... school bus drivers are best equipped to notice things in neighborhoods since they see it everyday... we don't have manpower in this nation to deploy the types of security we should; taking advantage of school bus drivers, training them, and using them in the War on Terror makes good sense! They are simply an extension of Neighborhood Watch programs that many neighborhoods have adopted...

    What is it precisely you disagree with here?
     
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