WASHINGTON, D.C. - Fire drills are a great way for kids to practice how to safely evacuate a building in an emergency situation. Most fire drills involve hundreds, even thousands of kids being emptied from a building in a mere 3 to 4 minutes, quite a feat.
Testing the entire United States of America for an internal terrorist threat is another matter altogether. There is no practical way to evaluate a nation of 300,000,000 people's reaction to see if it is ready to deal with a terrorist threat from within quickly and effectively.
Or, is there? Dr. Perry Stalsis, one of the nation's leading epidemiologists, believes we can do so, albeit indirectly.
"Terror spreads like a disease," he explains. "Once the first case of swine flu hit within our borders, that essentially represented an attack on America, from within. We had to anticipate that, mobilizing the nation in advance of the impending threat."
Dr. Stalsis says America passed a critical "terror readiness" test in reacting so swiftly to the advancing swine flu epidemic, and he says this is "very fortunate," as America now needs to prepare itself for what he calls the Perfect Redneck Storm.
First, he notes the red swath painted across the South in the last presidential election, designating areas where lots of conservative voters are frustrated about not only the political leanings of the President, House and Senate, but also because of, and especially because of, the color of their Commander in Chief's skin. "There's really a lot of negative energy and fear concentrated here, in a population already prone to terrorist acts like burning crosses in people's yards, shooting leaders who oppose their views, burning churches, even dragging people to death behind pick-up trucks."
Second, he notes the nationwide ammunition shortages since Bush left office caused by fanatical gun owners who are scared to death, millions of trigger-happy firearm enthusiasts who are absolutely terrified that the current administration might try to ensure America's militias are well-regulated as guaranteed by the 2nd Amendment.
Put these two things together, says Dr. Stalsis, and you have the Perfect Redneck Storm.
"You remember Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, right? Those were two conservative white guys. A couple of right-wing crazies who met at a gun show. They almost got away with killing 168 Americans while Oklahoma City residents were busy blaming Muslims for blowing up their Federal Building.
"When conditions like this start to consolidate dyed-in-the-wool conservatives, especially with people like Limbaugh and Coulter fomenting trouble, well, you don't know when the first attack will come. You only know that it will, and you've just got to hope you've done everything possible to make sure America is 'redneck ready.'
"Personally," added Dr. Stalsis, "I'd rather deal with the swine flu again. Surgical masks are so much less restrictive than Kevlar."