Tuesday, April 18, 2006

I came over for a snoop, uh, a scoop of sugar. I hope I'm not disturbing you.

This column in yesterday's Oregonian pretty much made my head explode.

School bus drivers being trained to watch for terrorism signs

4/18/2006, 12:00 a.m. PT
The Associated Press

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — School bus drivers and transportation officials across the state are being trained to spot possible terrorists and other signs of danger.

The training, given to more than 1,000 Oregonians so far, is part of the national School Bus Watch program, which teaches drivers to identify, evaluate and report suspicious activities around school buses and along bus routes.

Bus drivers are taught to look for little signals that something could be awry: For example, a man at a bus stop wearing a long trench coat on a hot summer day; a person photographing students boarding or departing; a person videotaping school buses from a freeway overpass or sketching the layout of school buildings.

The online version of the article appears to be annotated with much of the money quotes that appeared in the print version conspicously absent. The fact that the program is part of a $50 million dollar Department of Homeland Security grant is missing from the portion I linked.

$50 million dollars that could have gone to mounting geiger-counters on every crane at every port in the U.S. but instead went to training school bus drivers in the hinterland to spot junior-jihadists who sneak onto their buses.

You'd be surprised to know that thus far the program hasn't turned up any terrorist plots but I can just imagine the interview with the first bus driver that breaks a al-qaeda cell: "He was a kid I'd never seen ride the bus before, see. I could just tell he was up to something and not just because he was six feet tall with a full-on beard."

At one point the print version of the article mentions some of the how-to-spot-an-evildoer-training was conducted for average citizens in Medford. Medford. The number one target on Bin Laden's operation map, I'm sure.

Get over you bad selves, Medford. Nobody, least of all the enemies of the United States, care about you.

This is another telling graf:

Tom Slavin, a veteran school bus driver for Portland Public Schools who is also certified to train bus drivers, said the program teaches drivers to be observers, not law enforcement officers. Slavin said all drivers volunteering for the training program must go through an extensive criminal background check but are not required to sign a loyalty oath.

No loyalty oath? That is SO pre-9/11. Loyalty oaths are all the rage these days.

What the heck would they swear loyalty to? Good driving? Bus safety? Not throttling the noisy little brats?

I'm actually am fairly close to someone that's been through this training for bus drivers. One of the things they're taught is that if they suspect someone of preparing to do something nefarious to a bus they should radio in a secret code and continue business as usual until law enforcement determines what to do. In other words: if you suspect someone has a bomb on the bus keep picking up students in case they suspect you're on to them and set off the bomb.

Only the Bush administration could come up with something that asinine.

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