the Terrorist News Network) U.S.
Attorney General John Ashcroft has told Americans be alert in
the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks and report
anything suspicious to law enforcement agencies, with a "heightened
sense of awareness. Once we've won this war or terrorism," says
Ashcroft "you can go back to muddling through life half-awake."
But a definition
of suspicious behavior is difficult to establish, said Thomas
Weeney, co-chair of the IAPASB (International Association of
Professionals Against Suspicious Behavior), because almost everything
makes him suspicious.
there are several key things to look for, added Weeney, who
is also the police chief in Glastonbury, Connecticut
a town known for its myriad suspicions, as well as the nation's
most magnificent collection of rare Dutch elms.
to spot things at the level of suspicion, before they become
an incident," advised Weeney. "But if it should become an incident,
at least try to catch it there, before you have a scene on your
hands. Once, it's a scene, well… next thing all hell could break
to your environment.
attempting to gain access to something they shouldn't have or
somewhere they don't belong.
Examples include men trying to access dangerous chemicals, HAZMATs,
elevators, water coolers, shag-carpet cleaning machines, your
wife's bedroom, or Dutch elm trees, without proper credentials.
or frequent comings or goings.
Weeney knows the signs that point toward criminal activity:
For instance, is there some foreign-looking fellow racing in
and out of the local pizza parlor all night, carrying piles
of white boxes? What could he be up to? Did one of the guests
at your last party run off to the bathroom every fifteen minutes,
then stay in there for like five minutes? What in the world
was he doing in there? Is there a Pakistani man who is always
hanging around the local convenience store, claiming
he is the owner? Is someone visiting the elms at odd hours?
carrying a weapon
People should already be notifying police if they notice unauthorized
people carrying weapons or using them threateningly, Weeney
said. Whittling knives and axes are especially suspicious.
who appears to be concealing something or attempting to put
something over on somebody.
Keep your eyes peeled for the construction of tree houses and
rope swings. Left unchecked, they are just the kind of suspicious
activities that could lead to crippling attacks on a tree's
immune system. Water tables could be poisoned. Watch out for
rented crop spraying planes, capable of delivering huge quantities
of Round-Up in minutes. Containers loaded with assault weapons,
such as chain saws, could enter U.S. ports. Thus, for a limited
period, it may be necessary to expand the powers of investigative
authorities and even to augment them with trained arborists.
Our tree-lined main streets are the symbol of small-town America.
Those who hate our freedom, democracy, and prosperity must never
be allowed to harm a single branch of our green, leafy friends.
on the job.
Weeney says some crime solving has come from tips by people
at work for example, landscapers who noticed something
out of the ordinary. Is there someone whose perennial borders
are not at least twice as wide as they are tall? Are they planting
a lot of exotic, foreign species? Are they attempting
to mix herbaceous plants and evergreens in the same bed? Do
they show the proper respect and attitude toward the majestic
Dutch elms that are a prominent part of our American heritage?
mail or packages.
Watch for packages with air holes, which might contain the European
elm bark beetle (Scolytus multistriatus) or the native
elm bark beetle (Hylurgopinus rufipes), both carriers
of the fungus Ceratocystis ulmi. Just
25 pounds of beetle larvae, spread efficiently over the Glastonbury
metropolitan area, could cause a catastrophe.
Watch for people conducting themselves in a strange manner or
making unusual requests
An example: The man who was poking around the local lumber mill,
inquiring about lessons on operating the treadle. Weeney said
it might be something that strikes you as not appropriate for
whatever environment you're operating in, or something that
just seems really freaky, like your Aunt Gertrude's navel ring.
If you notice something suspicious, call 911, or the local police
Police officers across the country are experiencing increased
calls reporting incidents of suspicious people and packages,
Weeney said, which is exactly what he wants to see. "It beats
chasing down criminals all day," he said. "Some of those guys
had 80 calls of suspicious substances or packages yesterday,"
added one of Weeney's men. "We've had to check every donut shop
between here and Hartford."
Remain calm, without overreacting.
For instance, don't look behind you now. No! Really! There's
no one lurking in the shadows back there. All right, are you
calm now? Good.
law officials have expressed frustration that well-intentioned
citizens, frightened by the most innocent of circumstances,
have stretched their workforce thin. A rider ordered a bus stopped
and evacuated because someone passed gas. A cardboard box on
a curb was assumed to be a hydrogen bomb. A truck that kicked
up a cloud of dust was stopped and the driver was assaulted
by angry nuns. So forget we mentioned number 8.
asked what result he would like to see from our war on terror,
Weeney answered: "I'd like to see Osama bin Laden swing for
this. After all, what's more American than a lynch mob hanging
a fellow from a big Dutch elm. That's a lesson we could pass
on to our children."