From the Editor


Duct and cover

By Susy Schultz

"Everybody out of bed." "Mom, it’s 4:30 in the morning. I was having a good dream. Why do you have a whistle around your neck?" "There are six plastic shower curtains and five rolls of duct tape downstairs, there’s the bathroom, here’s the stop watch. Go." "Mom, what are you doing?" "Come on, let’s move it. This is the drill scenario: The anthrax cloud is floating in. You have less than five minutes. Let’s go! Bryant, start taping. Zach, downstairs. Get the canned creamed corn, bottled water and beef jerky." "Beef jerky?" "I’m sorry, Bryant, turkey jerky. Just because we’re facing war doesn’t mean we should stop thinking about our health. Boys, stop arguing. You have four and a half minutes. Let’s show some teamwork. Bryant, open those plastic bags. Don’t forget the air ducts. Let’s go."  "But we don’t have air ducts." "OK, tape the radiator." "But the heat’s on. Won’t the plastic melt, Mom?" "I am telling you boys, we have three minutes." "Mom what about the iguana? And the dogs? And the fish?" "Put them in the tub." "But Mom, I have two carnivorous Oscars in a 50-gallon tank." "Fine, the Oscars will deal with the anthrax. No carnivores unless they stand upright. Everyone else, in the tub." "Mom, I’m really worried about you.  Don’t you realize if we seal ourselves in, we’ll also be sealing out the air? We’ll be lucky if we can stay alive. Besides, how are we going to seal off the bathroom in three minutes?" "Well, you’re right, Bryant, you can’t, you now have two and a half minutes." "Mom, are you listening? WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS?" "Bryant, you just don’t get it, do you? This is a different time in America’s history. We have to join together to do everything we can to protect America, boys. Our sacrifices are for the safety and security of the American people ..." "Mom, why are you staring like that?" "Bryant, before Sept. 11th — if you can remember that far back — we all thought oceans could protect us from attack. The nation thought we were secure from any gathering danger that might be occurring somewhere else. After all, our history pretty well predicted that we would be safe."  "Mom, stop it. You’re scaring me." "But, Bryant and my fellow Americans, everything changed on that morning and it’s important for our fellow citizens to understand that everything did change. That we must do everything in our power to stop an enemy from coming here to hurt us, is our first task. We’re at war and the war goes on. Perseverance is power in this war. We’re winning the war on terrorism. In order to protect our homeland ... " "Mom, this is not right. You’re the one who always tells us that you don’t use violence to solve problems. Remember? Talk it out, walk it out. And remember how you tell us you don’t scare people to get them to go along with you? Mom, are you there?" "Chemical agents, lethal viruses and shadowy terrorist networks are not easily contained. Secretly, without fingerprints, Saddam Hussein could provide one of his hidden weapons to terrorists, or help them develop their own. Saddam Hussein is a threat. He’s a threat to the United States of America. He’s a threat to some of our closest friends and allies. We don’t accept this threat. (Applause.)" "Mom, applause?" "Saddam Hussein is used to deceiving the world and he continues to do so. Saddam Hussein has got ties to terrorist networks. Saddam Hussein is a danger, and that’s why he will be disarmed — one way or the other. "Mom, aren’t you suppose to be the adult here? You’re scaring me. You’re the one we look to to make sure we’re safe. Why are you talking this way? Look at Zach. He’s slipping into the fetal position. Mom, snap out of it." "You don’t get it, son. We’ve got to tape that bathroom. We’ve got to do our part. "One of the things this country stands for is freedom. That’s what we believe. For years the freedoms of our people were really never in doubt because no one ever thought that the terrorists, or anybody, could come and hurt America. But that changed. As a matter of fact, the more threatened we are here at home, the more we love freedom. The more there’s a chance that somebody might think they can take it away from us, the more stubborn we are in our demand for freedom universally." "Mom, what are you doing? Why are you saying these things? Of course, we believe in freedom. But what does that have to do with taping the bathroom and turkey jerky?  None of this is making any sense." "Bryant, fighting for freedom is what we must do as a country. This threat is new; America’s duty is familiar. To date, we’ve arrested or otherwise dealt with many key commanders of al Qaeda. All told, more than 3,000 suspected terrorists have been arrested in many countries. Many others have met a different fate. Let’s put it this way — they are no longer a problem to the United States and our friends and allies. (Applause.)" "OK, Mom, I hate to do this but I don’t think I have a choice ..." "Bryant Robert, what do you think you are doing? You never hit. Haven’t I told you violence and bullying are not the answer to any problem?" "Mom, you’re back. Thank God. Hey, have you been on the White House Web site again?"

Susy Schultz


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