Friday, November 02, 2001

FBI Says West Coast Bridges Targeted (Yahoo! News)

Our Governor, Gray Davis, announced this yesterday and within an hour it was all over the radio. Of course, he only emphasized the four possible targets that are in California (the Golden Gate, the Bay Bridge, San Diego's Coronado, and the something Thomas Bridge in L.A.). After all, why bother mentioning that seven other western states were included in the FBI warning? The terrorists aren't dumb, they're not going to waste an action on some stupid bridge in Oregon.

Here, in the Bay Area, we of course assume it will be one of our bridges. The Golden Gate is a symbol known worldwide. We assume everybody knows about the engineering marvel of the Bay Bridge as well. Sure, the Coronado Bridge is nice, but we can't believe it's that strategically important or picturesque. And the whatever-it-is Thomas Bridge in the port of Los Angeles, who the hell's ever even heard of that? Give me a break. Most Angelinos don't even know they have a port, let alone a suspension bridge.

In fact, if the terrorists choose one of those other bridges, we'll be downright insulted. We've got our pride too, you know?

Today, of course, the debate was over how stupid Gray Davis must be to have made that announcement based on uncorroborated reports. The White House scolded poor Gray, then sort of apologized. Gray is just pleased to be back in the news, reminding people that Yes, California does have a governor.

I guess the main reason for my flippant attitude is that I can't see how having this knowledge is going to help anybody or anything. If somebody wants to blow themselves up and take a bridge out with them, there's nothing that can stop them.

Well, almost nothing. Only by thoroughly searching the trunk, under the hood, and under the seats of every single vehicle passing over each bridge could they claim to be doing "all that is possible" to prevent this rumor from becoming fact. But that's not going to happen. To set up such an operation just for the west-bound traffic on the Bay Bridge would back traffic up as far as Davis (the town, not the governor). We wouldn't stand for those kinds of delays.

So, if we're supposed to get on with our lives as normal, and not let the terrorists scare us into bunkering up in our homes, what good does it do to know that these bridges are targets? Most of us already figured out that the Golden Gate would be a pretty good American symbol for terrorists to mark for destruction.

In Davis' defense, if he'd said nothing and one of these bridges is hit, he'd be crucified for concealing information that could have saved lives. And, of course, if one of these bridges is hit, I'll look like a total asshole for having joked about it.

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