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Insurrection or Amber Alert?

June 16, 2008 - Paul Giannamore

You're sitting in the living room, wrapping up a great Father's Day, watching "Ice Road Truckers," when the TV screen goes all blue, the Emergency Alert BEEEEEP comes on and the computer-man says, "Authorities have issued a civil emergency. Please tune to Channel 12."

Nnnn-kaaay. Channel 12 it is. They did this all night Friday issuing warnings about upcoming weather, so here it goes.

And down on Channel 12, the red screen proclaims "Civil Emergency" with the crawler below saying the "Civil Emergency" declaration includes Harrison, Coshocton, Tuscarawas and Jefferson Counties.

A voice, which normally would be reading information about upcoming weather, says, "Hey, heheheh, uhh." And nothing more.

So what do you do?

Obviously, it is not weather. There's not a lightning strike in the sky. All the other channels we can think might have info are saying nothing and there are no more crawlers on the screen with additional information.

In our case, The Boss headed to the computer to see if she could learn something more. I figured I'd finish "Ice Road Truckers." If the missiles were inbound, there was little I could do anyway.

Turns out the alert, apparently, was about the abduction of two little girls a couple of counties away.

Just for future reference to the "civil authorities." When issuing an Amber Alert, how about saying so? I cannot imagine that every older citizen in Toronto who saw the "civil emergency" declaration had the savvy to go to a computer to figure out if they needed to evacuate, call their relatives or simply grab all the canned goods and climb into a hole in the back yard.

It's as if the "civil authorities" told the local cable companies, "Warn them. Warn Them!!! Do Something!!!" but never told us what to do. What if you were being warned but didn't know of what?

It's a civil emergency, apparently.


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