from the drink-the-damn-water...-or-the-terrorists-win! dept
The War on Terror has lasted so long the words have lost all meaning. Some of our war on terror actually involves warlike actions in other countries. Other parts of this war take the form of a debate on which constitutional rights are now considered optional -- a debate the general public isn't welcome to attend.
Still other parts of this capital-W, neverending war are even more poorly defined. Whenever some act or statement might have potentially negative consequences for Americans and/or their government, these too become our enemies. Another example of how the word "terrorism" has come to mean everything and nothing simultaneously is gracelessly provided by a member of Tennessee's water regulation body.
A Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation deputy director warned a group of Maury County residents that unfounded complaints about water quality could be considered an “act of terrorism.”It's tough to tell where Smith was headed when he began this statement, but it's altogether unsurprising where it ends up. Anything is an act of terrorism, even complaining about water quality. If the state disagrees with the public's assessment that the water is so hard it's best consumed with a chisel and a fork, they're now on The List and should know that any attempts to board a plane in the future will require a full-blown molestation of their person and carry-on luggage.
“We take water quality very seriously. Very, very seriously,” said Sherwin Smith, deputy director of TDEC’s Division of Water Resources, according to audio recorded by attendees. “But you need to make sure that when you make water quality complaints you have a basis, because federally, if there’s no water quality issues, that can be considered under Homeland Security an act of terrorism.”
Even if the state agrees the water is better described as "heavily diluted silt," you've still got the feds to deal with, at least according to Smith. Apparently, the US government also has the power to declare your drinking water "pretty excellent, actually" before charging your complaining ass with "communicating terroristic speculation on local water quality."
At least the audience had the presence of mind to a.) get it all on tape and b.) say what everyone was thinking.
“Can you say that again, please?” an audience member can be heard asking on the audio.Well, if you can't be right, at least be consistent. Smith's spokespeople were quick to issue a "no comment" and pledged to get to the bottom of Smith's statement, which was probably "misheard" or "taken out of context."
Smith went on in the recording to repeat the claim almost verbatim.
“In terms of the comments made by a member of the Water Resources Division at the meeting, we are just receiving the information and looking into this on our end,” spokeswoman Meg Lockhart said. “The department would like to fully assess what was said in the meeting. I am told that the meeting was far longer than the audio clip provided by SOCM and that Mr. Smith actually clarified his remarks. But again, we are looking into it.”The comment shocked and outraged attendees, who saw it as an attempt to silence complaints, said Brad Wright, organizer for SOCM in Middle Tennessee.
Rep. [Sheila] Butt, who organized the meeting, also was shocked.Silence by rhetoric or not, there's evidence that those in charge of regulating water supplies take any disparagement of the goods very seriously.
“I think that we need to be very careful with how we use the words ‘terrorist’ and ‘terrorism,’ ” she said. “I thought it was out of context. That did not apply to anything that we were discussing at the meeting.”
Butt said the water issue had been marred by “communication breakdowns” by both sides, which wouldn’t be made easier with such inflammatory comments being made.
A few months ago, a couple of Florida DJs pranked the local population, issuing a warning that the local drinking water was full of "dihydrogen monoxide." A small panic ensued and the pair briefly found themselves facing possible felony charges before more rational thinking prevailed.
[A]pparently, the station, the water works, and perhaps the authorities are still trying to figure out if the two hosts could face felony charges for, again, reporting that the scientific name of water was coming out of the pipes. "My understanding is it is a felony to call in a false water quality issue," Diane Holm, a public information officer for Lee County, told WTSP, while Renda stood firm about his deejays: "They will have to deal with the circumstances."There you have it. If citizens know what's good for them, they'll shut up and choke down the local water, no matter how loaded with unexpected minerals, chemicals and barely treated sewage it is. This is America, dammit, home of the world's finest water! We certainly don't need rowdy crowds of dehydrated malcontents ruining our reputation at home and abroad with their terroristic complaining.