Terrorism Commercial

by Tracee Sioux

Flash from scared innocent kids asking these questions:

Mom, Dad, how long should I wait for you?

What if something happens, will you come get me?

What if I’m at soccer practice, will you come get me?

Mom, If you’re not home, should we go to the neighbor’s house?

Calm female Narrator: There is no reason not to have a plan in case of a terrorist attack, and some extremely good reasons why you should. Talk to your family about what you would do in case of an emergency. Go to www.ready.gov .

I just saw this commercial on TLC sponsored by Homeland Security.

For some reason I feel manipulated by it. For one, as a parent it makes me feel completely powerless. My first question is exactly what would that plan look like?

When I saw the second plane hit the second tower of the World Trade Center it was clear to me that terrorists are evil geniuses. They waited until all cameras were on them to make their real statement. The other thing that was clear to me is that we can’t imagine what they are capable of. So, what strategy can I possibly come up with, as a parent, if their evilness knows no moral bounds? We couldn’t conceive of the terribleness of 9/11, so there simply couldn’t be a back-up plan. All back-up plans were useless on that day, during that week. Should I have multiple plans that include biomedical terrorism or germ warfare or plain old bombs? Should I assume that I’ll have access to transportation or should I assume that I won’t?

When I think about that commercial a little more I feel exploited. Why now? It’s been 6 whole years and I’ve never seen a commercial like that before. Now it’s election time, and I’m getting public service announcements from Homeland Security all the sudden?

The nature of the commercial felt manipulative to me as well. It seemed to be directed to make children afraid. To coerce them into asking me questions I can’t possibly answer. It seemed dead set on destroying my sense of denial that allows me to put one foot in front of the other every day. It seemed poised to force my children to realize that I can’t possibly protect them from so much in this world.

Are commercials like this helpful? Necessary? Is this a clue that we’re at a higher risk than the last 6 years? Is it appropriate to scare children to force action on the part of parents? Sort of like the “make your parents quit smoking” public service announcements? Is manipulation of children for the greater good? Did it take 6 years to decide we need commercials on being prepared?

7 replies
  1. jen says:

    Google “the perfect day,” and “17 missing school buses” and that, I believe is why we are seeing these ads.

    If they want to hit us where it hurts they will do massive damage to a school(s). It would collapse our economy far worse than hitting the WTC.

  2. Tracee says:

    The schools? What’s the back up plan for that? Hope that it’s not my kid’s school? Take my kid out of schools? Move to the country where we hope to blend into the sticks? I went to the website and there was not much focus on scenarios, lots of focus on natural disasters.

  3. Jonna says:

    I think that the key is to have a simple plan. Remind your children that if anything bad happens, of course, you’ll get to them as quickly as you can. Remind them that there are certain grownups that they can trust, like the police, fire, other emergency workers. And pick a place that they might be able to get to (albeit with the help of a grownup) to get back together. Our family plan is to meet at the hospital where my husband works. They have a generator. Unless I am at work 20 miles away, I know I could walk there from most of our usual haunts. And I know that a three year old, if asked “do you know where your mom and dad are” could respond “At the Ben Taub Hospital where my dad works”
    Maybe the commercial IS to scare kids AND parents. Our job is just to remind them that of course, we can’t stop bad guys from trying to do bad things, but we can pray that God will stop them, and we can have a plan just in case.

  4. JayMonster says:

    You seem to be labouring under the delusion that this commercial was really anything about “preparedness”

    Do we need these commercials? For the purpose of “preparedness” of course we don’t. But there is more to it that that, and it is the answer to your question of, “Why did it take them six years to decide we needed this commercial.”

    And that is because this commercial is nothing short of a political ploy. It took six years for the GOP to wear down their original fear mongering tactics and the “War on Tera” so now they need a new way to try and creep that fear into people’s heads, and what better way than scaring some kids.

  5. Tracee says:

    I’m pretty sure I’m not laboring under a delusion.

    In fact, I believe in the original article I mentioned the timing of these commercials in an election year as a suspicious coincidence.

    However, as I did witness the second plane hitting the World Trade Center I’m also not delusional about the fact that terrorists are a very serious concern. Watching people jump out of buildings rather than burn was a pretty harsh reality. Not a GOP fiction.

    Further, the government’s response to Katrina left me less than confident about depending on them for a back up plan. Here’s what I learned from that – do NOT go with the Gov. back up plan or risk rape and violence. Do not expect the Gov to manage a recovery plan, they will leave you in a FEMA trailer for years before helping you rebuild a life.

    Believe me I won’t be voting for the GOP Yayhoos who created such a mess.

    But, I’m also not under a delusion, to use your word, that the issue of terrorism disappeared, resolved itself, doesn’t exist or miraculously went away.

  6. Kate says:

    Well, and at least we can tell where their propaganda intentions lie. I mean, a commercial like this with a plan for say, Hurricane Katrina, would nrver have aired.

  7. jeanie says:

    I am not American so we don’t have those ads – but we are gearing up for elections here and it is amazing how many government funded commercials are now coming out of the closet.

    I think they need to define who their target market is here. It should be the parents – this is an issue that the children should be informed about through their parental filter, not to give them nightmares.

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