Homeland Security is spending $16,000,000 to create “mock” havoc. Within this budget is room for hundreds, possibly thousands of paid actors, pretending to have injuries, ranging from broken bones to missing limbs, to symptoms of the bubonic plague. This drill will include the simulation of explosions and biological warfare.
Megan Bartlett was a first responder to 9/11. She gave a speech in New London in which it was clarified that first responders would greatly appreciate more training and better equipment. However, after living through the devastation of 9/11, she says there is plenty to learn from disasters that have already occurred. There is no need to create “mock terror” in New London, when the American government is waging a war of real terror all over the world.
This drill, called “TOPOFF3” (Top Officials3) is the third drill to be carried out; its predecessors being in Seattle and Chicago. To say the least, these drills are a faulty priority to have. The government should not be spending such vast amounts of money on these exercises while it is still indebted to the victims and veterans of 9/11. Never mind the fact that America has given relative pocket change to the victims of the Tsunami. If our emergency servers need training, why not send them to Indonesia, where masses of people are still struggling to recover from a true emergency?
First Responders start off making $9.00 an hour, even though they have one of the most rigorous, important and dangerous jobs in the country. First responder Megan Bartlett says that Homeland Security cuts the emergency workforce’s resources all the time. Taking ambulances out of commission, and cutting radio lines don’t seem symptomatic of a department that can afford a $16,000,000 exercise.
Bartlett also referenced the indecorous actions of the EPA, which chose not to test the air quality on 9/11. The Environmental Protection Agency said that it was safe for the emergency workforce to enter ground zero; yet half a mile away, the EPA’s New York offices evacuated, and moved to New Jersey, as a safety precaution. This double standard is not acceptable.
America depends highly on its emergency workers, and they deserve the best training and equipment. If Homeland Security cannot afford to maintain its workforce, it does not have the right to spend money on TOPOFF3. There are areas all over the world that desperately need assistance, which makes this drill seem like a frivolous publicity stunt. New London, Ct. will not do Homeland Security’s PR!