Congress To Consider Protections Against Imaginary Terrorism Act
Yesterday, Republican U.S. Representatives David Young of Iowa and Daniel Donovan of New York, with the cooperation of Democratic U.S. Representative Donald Payne of New Jersey, introduced H.R. 1238, a bill that can in all fairness only be called the Protections Against Imaginary Terrorism Act.
H.R. 1238 gives an Assistant Secretary in the Department of Homeland Security responsible for “food, agriculture, and veterinary defense against terrorism”.
What does that mean? Do these members of Congress propose that the Department of Homeland Security draft plans to throw tomatoes at terrorists, or to plow fields at them? Do they suggest that we train Holstein cows to be on the lookout for the terrorist “bad guys” that Donald Trump warns us about?
It sounds that way, but to be fair, even H.R. 1238 isn’t that silly. The truth is ridiculous enough: David Young, Daniel Donovan, and Donald Payne expect us to believe that there is a substantial threat from terrorists who plan to attack American farms.
In fact, no such agricultural terrorism has ever happened in the United States.
H.R. 1238 is similar to legislation introduced last year by David Young as H.R. 5346, the Securing our Agriculture and Food Act. Justifying that legislation, Congressman Young warned, “In 2015, Iowa suffered the largest animal disease outbreak in our state’s history when avian influenza wiped out millions of layer hens, turkeys, and backyard flocks. Response efforts revealed problematic breaks in the federal government’s ability to communicate with stakeholders and react quickly to large-scale animal disease outbreaks. This disaster also raised additional concerns among stakeholders about our nation’s ability to share information and quickly respond to agro-terrorism threats…”
Consider the weird logic employed by David Young to promote his vision of agricultural defense against terrorists. He cites an outbreak of bird flu that was not caused by terrorists to justify belief in “agro-terrorism threats”.
He might as well observe that Florida has been repeatedly hit by hurricanes, and then introduce legislation requiring the Department of Homeland Security to organize plans to protect the USA from hurricano-terrorism. Or, Young could observe that huge numbers of Americans are killed every year in traffic accidents, and then promote legislation to save us all from the risk of traffic-terrorism.
The truth that politicians in Congress are loathe to acknowledge is that any kind of terrorism in the United States is extremely rare. Terrorist attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center took place 16 years ago, and were never repeated. Since than time, an average of fewer than six people per year have been killed by terrorists in the United States. No terrorist attacks in the United States have taken place at all this year.
As a point of comparison, 100 people in the USA are killed by horses every year.
Wait a minute… Maybe David Young is on to something. Maybe there is an agro-terrorist threat after all – from horses. They always looked shifty to me.
Has anyone noticed that Donald Trump refuses to talk about this threat? He won’t even say the name: Radical Equine Terrorism. If he isn’t willing to even name the evil horses, how can he ever hope to defeat them?