The State of New Jersey Office Of Homeland Security and Preparedness posts this graphic to warn New Jersey residents of the deadly peril posed by forgotten backpacks. “If you see something, say something!”
The implication is that there’s a reasonable chance that a backpack that seems to have been forgotten by somebody is really a bomb that will soon kill large numbers of people. The truth is, though, that no one in New Jersey has ever been killed by a bomb hidden in a backpack. There have been countless incidents of students in New Jersey forgetting to take their backpacks with them, leaving them in busy places because they were thinking of something else. Statistically, backpacks sitting in public places in New Jersey, appearing to be forgotten, have always been, in fact, backpacks that have been forgotten and not bombs.
It should not be said, concluded, however, that there are no real threats to safety in New Jersey. There are. I’ve seen them myself.
Just three days ago, in Iselin, New Jersey, I watched as a car that had just struck another vehicle at an intersection fled the scene, dragging a headlight along the street until it fell off, with the entire front bumper of the vehicle looking ready to follow it. Nobody stopped to pick the headlight up out of the road, or to wait for police. The cars on the road simply drove right over the headlight until it was crushed into so many pieces that no one could have ever known it was there at all.
I don’t know if anyone was killed or seriously hurt in that collision. New Jersey drivers have an infamous reputation for dangerously impulsive behavior on the road, however. Many times, people die as a result of this recklessness.
The victims often aren’t fellow drivers either. 162 pedestrians were killed in New Jersey last year, after they were hit by cars, trucks and other automobiles.
No one is killed by terrorists in New Jersey. There is no backpack bomb problem there. Yet, the people of New Jersey are paying for a statewide Department of Homeland Security there, and that department is spending money to promote the idea that New Jersey residents need to be vigilant against the threat of stray backpacks.
If New Jersey was wisely run, it would have a Department of Pedestrian Safety, spending money on programs to help the people of New Jersey construct safe corridors for walking safely throughout their own neighborhoods, unthreatened by the dangers of impatient drivers throttling their cars along busy streets at unreasonable speeds. Of course, New Jersey isn’t wisely run. It’s run by Governor Chris Christie, who has worked to increase automobile congestion on New Jersey roads by cancelling public transportation projects, while keeping backpack protection programs up and running.