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Spreading the culture of fear

Gregg Reese | 4/18/2013, 2:28 p.m.

Regardless of political ideology or level of sophistication, the terrorist apparatus has succeeded in spawning a network of crisis preparatory organizations and stroking our national paranoia.

The recent tragedy in Boston has law-enforcement organizations across the globe rethinking their security protocols while simultaneously hammering home the fact that today, almost two years after the death of Osama bin Laden, terrorism still looms in the American psyche.

Initial evidence concerning the construction of the bombs used in the recent attack has shed little light on the origins of the attack in this, an age of global discontent.

There are various disgruntled individuals and bands with axes to grind, and the ability to express that outrage by accessing household materials (the principal component of the Boston bombs is said to be a simple pressure cooker) and other ingredients for an expenditure of under a hundred dollars.

This apparent “DIY (Do It Yourself)” methodology has become the armament of choice for 21st-century grass-roots malcontents, regardless of ideology, and makes it that much harder to track down the guilty parties.

Preliminary reports had shrapnel consisting of ball bearings or BBs inflicting wounds, then followed by the declaration of one of the emergency-room physicians that there was no way to tell if the injury-causing debris was part of the bomb itself, or fragments from the surrounding environment sucked into the force of the explosion.

All this has generated more questions than answers. What is certain is that the suspect(s) have succeeded in dealing a blow to American confidence and helped continue the phobia America’s consciousness has experienced since 9/11.

With a massive commercial seaport, one of the busiest airports, world-class sporting events, and a huge entertainment hub, Los Angeles provides a tempting target for anyone intent on making the world take notice.

To counter this, the Southland has fostered a booming industry predicated on doom and gloom, for events that most pray will never come, but, with the realities of contemporary life, seem to be inevitable.

Sequestered in an office building near the Twin Towers Correctional Facility in downtown, a little-known civil agency called the Emergency Management Department (EMD) has gone on alert in L.A.

In place since 2000, it is charged with synchronizing the city’s response to any of the myriad disasters, natural or man-made, that might befall the City of Angels.

Chris Ipsen serves as a spokesperson, and one of the duty officers charged with carrying a dedicated smart phone linking scores of organizations throughout the state and beyond.

Similar departments in Chicago (staff of 60) and New York City (more than 200 employees) do what EMD does with a staff of two dozen.

Its members must orchestrate all the law-enforcement, first-responder and hospital resources needed to address such calamities, along with all the private businesses and entities essential to getting the county’s economy back on track as soon as possible.

As they wait for the next crisis, these county employees preoccupy themselves with preparatory drills, and the study of misfortune in other locales in a grim form of “homework” for the day when catastrophe impacts native Angelenos.