Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

December 9, 2010

When Gophers Attack!

Filed under: General Homeland Security,Humor,Risk Assessment,Terrorist Threats & Attacks — by Arnold Bogis on December 9, 2010

If current terrorist threats aren’t enough to keep you up at night, seemingly out of nowhere comes the gopher menace.  These crafty and malicious creatures pose a dire threat to critical infrastructure, not just across the United States but around the world!

So writes Eric Holdeman in his latest column in Emergency Management magazine. His article, “If Gophers Were Terrorists,” is a funny piece that nicely encapsulates the trajectory homeland security has taken since 9/11.

First, the threat is exposed:

I’ve recently read several stories about burrowing animals weakening levee systems to the point of failure both in the United States and abroad. I thought about this new hazard I hadn’t previously considered. As with any new “threat,” it must be addressed, so envision what would happen if we discovered that these animals were, in fact, trained terrorist operatives attacking one element of our critical infrastructure.

Then the obvious initial reaction:

First, there would be the predictable congressional hearings by multiple committees in both the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate. Since there isn’t a designated Gopher Committee, these legislative bodies would have many committees that viewed this issue as part of their legislative domain. Testimony would come from newly minted gopher experts.

Everyone will tussle for funding:

There’d be lots of lobbying during the process; rural and urban states would compete for funding. Cities and counties would proclaim that, “All gophers are local.” Fire, law enforcement, public health, hospitals and other disciplines would lobby for funding for their field. They’d argue that animal control should not be getting all of the funds. For years, each would make the case that they should have dedicated funds for equipment.

After years of anti-gopher activity without further attacks, attention will turn to new threats:

A new threat might capture our attention. Take pigeons for instance: Have you ever noticed how they seem to be everywhere, listening to our conversations and monitoring our movements?

Making matters even worse, Mr. Holdeman fails to point out the ability of our pigeon adversaries to use their droppings as an ingredient in gunpowder.  The possible amounts involved could be staggering…

All jokes aside, the article is a great bit of satire that does a marvelous job exposing the predictable manner in which the U.S. reacts to new threats.  The entire piece is worth reading:


Of course to win the WOG (War On Gophers), we should turn to Bill Murray as he is already licensed to kill gophers by the Government of the United Nations:

License to kill gophers

Share and Enjoy:
  • Digg
  • Reddit
  • Facebook
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Google Bookmarks
  • email
  • Print
  • LinkedIn

1 Comment »

Comment by William R. Cumming

December 10, 2010 @ 8:36 am

All levees fail. Either from design interval exceedence or burrowing rodents and vegatation.

Unfortunately, good mowing of the vegatation attracts certain very effective burrowing animals.

Many pics exist of geysers from the holes of burrowing animals exist during high water and seepage through the strongest levees.

Yes DHS should be supporting levee maintenance or perhaps this war needs further study by the policy shop of DHS.

Of almost 40,000 miles of public and private levees existing in the US the federal government has constructed about 3,000 miles. The levees even in the upper Mississippi and Missouri are not sytems but incremental approaches to flooding problems largely the result of historical flooding. Of course the fact that flooding of record is such a short period of time, I would argue that the MOUND BUILDING culture beats the LEVEE BUILDING culture every time.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>