Monthly Archives: August 2009

My mom use to spend some of her free time writing letters to family and friends. She would buy nice stationary and fill three or four pages with stories about what was going on in our lives.

She hasn’t done that in a while because now she has learned how to use e-mail. Most recently, she has learned to use text messages, boiling down her once flowing letters to 160 characters. (Twitter is still not part of her vocabulary, luckily.)

Since even my mom is using text messages, it makes sense that local governments are starting to allow residents to text the 911 emergency response service.


As others have pointed out, this could be a life saver for the deaf or for people in situations where they can’t talk.

This new technology obviously presents some hurdles. Now operators who work at 911 will have to learn the parlance of texting. And thankfully Rescue 911 is no longer on the air, because reading OMG kiddnapped! is a lot less entertaining that hearing the actuall 911 call.

Okay, that title might be a little misleading. For those of us landlocked there is obviously no direct threat from pirates. (There are rumors of a ship crewed by souls lost during the Edmound Fitzgerald plundering the towns along the shores of Lake Superior, but that is for a different post.)

These days when people mention pirates, instead of vestiges of jolly rodgers, hooks and rum, images of emaciated fishermen from Somalia usually come to mind. That is because Somalia has become the one of the last places where outlaws can function unimpeded by the nuisance of law enforcement.

But how does a failing country on a different country affect you or me? They have no weapons of mass destruction. No stockpile of weapons. No working army. No natural resources needed to keep America going. What they do have, however, is a growing number of terrorist who have a deep hatred for the West.

If you’ve seen Blackhawk Down or were alive during that crisis, you’ve seen what the terrorist there are capable of.  Presently it only seems to be getting worse. An American invasion of Afghanistan has driven militants south into Pakistan and on into other Muslim friendly countries, like Somalia.

Without a functioning government in Somalia, terrorist are free to set up training camps and take refuge in the majority of the country. Today, Secretary of State Hiliary Clinton spoke in Kenya about the situation in Somalia, saying that if terrorist start using Somalia as a base of operations, it would be a threat to the United States.

Sure, this may seem like a “duh” statement, but it could be one of several things. First of all, Clinton could be sending the signal that the United States is willing to take the war on terror to another continent. Let’s hope not. (Plus, aside from the shipping route, Somalia doesn’t really have anything we care about.) What’s more, Clinton is probably bluffing.

Saying is one thing, doing is another.

Should we send troops to Somalia? I don’t know, and I don’t want that responsibility. However, without some way to prevent Islamic extremist from regrouping, America will be vulnerable. Maybe that is the lesson to be gleamed from the entire war on terror ordeal. We CAN make our country safer, but we will never be able to eradicate every enemy (short of going Dr. Strangelove on everyone)

(This post is dedicated to my PAR drinking buddies, enjoy, and forgive occasional the stream-of-conscious rambling)