Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has announced legislation geared toward preventing acts of terrorism. In a nutshell, it’s a proactive “if you see something, say something” approach to exposing anything deemed potentially dangerous on social media.
Monetary rewards for effectively combating a terrorist act would start at $25,000, conceivably going as high as 25 million.
I won’t debate the pros and cons of such legislation. However, I do believe there’s tremendous potential for false leads as well as the misallocation of government resources.
Assuming the 2016 Social Media Act becomes law, I have a strong hunch that many members of Congress will become intimately familiar with an undiscussable, asymmetric cyber-security threat… something I’ve termed an “artificially generated stampede.”
The concept itself is not terribly complex. It’s simply the modern, technological equivalent of shouting “fire” in a crowded theater — a decentralized saturation of wireless information, resulting in spontaneous confusion and panic, followed by a crowd surge, leading to a human stampede.
I’m not going to offer a detailed explanation of how something like this could take place. I’ve written 3 books and roughly 100 articles which outline the methodology in exhaustive detail. The information is freely available on the internet. Although I will tell you something. It’s vastly more complicated than a mass texted “bomb threat” mysteriously appearing on your cell phone. Smart phones are miniature supercomputers. There are roughly a dozen major ways to transmit real-time information. And as far as synthesizing fear or convincing people they should hastily exit a venue, the variables and combinations trend infinite, much like an NCAA tournament bracket sheet.
The AGSAF (Artificially Generated Stampede Awareness Foundation) mission statement has narrowed over the past couple years. Our current purpose is to explicitly warn event attendees that OFFICIAL emergency evacuation orders would NEVER be delivered via their personal cell phones. This represents the absolute, bare minimum of information it would be reasonable to divulge.
In the unlikely event of a real-world evacuation for a large, confined crowd (stadium, ballpark, motor speedway, arena, amphitheater, etc.), established protocol dictates using the public address system in tandem with the video monitors (if available). The overriding objective is to present a clear, succinct, unified, all-encompassing directive. For obvious reasons, this is not effectively achieved through bulk texts or cellular alerts.
Perhaps at some future point in time, the protocol will change. But if you ask any knowledgeable incident commander, they will concur with my assessment. Now if they wish to provide cellular updates and additional information after an evac has been satisfactorily achieved, that’s at their discretion. I’m solely referencing the initial order to evacuate. You would NEVER send out a gazillion evacuation alerts. It’s just not how it’s done. If something like this happened, it’s almost certainly a malicious hoax designed to create a stampede. There is one other minor possibility I suppose – the notion of someone executing a mass evacuation purely for their own amusement. But that would seem highly doubtful.
Now you might be curious about the discrepancies posed by weather related alerts, presidential terror alerts or exactly what constitutes a bomb threat emergency as opposed to a bomb threat condition. These are sub-issues that require a deeper explanation. Feel free to reference the AGSAF website.
If you’re an intellectually inquisitive human being, you might be wondering… why have I never heard of this “artificially generated stampede?” Well, there are several reasons. The rationale for nondisclosure is mostly grounded in a simple catch-22. If you acknowledge a problem, you own it. And if something bad happens, you’re screwed. Even though the subject matter is absurdly generic (much like planes crashing into buildings), it cannot be openly discussed for a variety of reasons — the most obvious one being plausible deniability. Hypothetical litigation in the aftermath of a tragedy, delicate social mores, purposeful neglect or intentional negligence, the lose-lose proposition and a basic unwillingness to publicly acknowledge negative outcomes are also a definable part of the security disconnect. Not only is it a generational warfare paradox (the indiscriminate killing of innocent civilians without conventional weapons), it’s also a classic risk management paradox (what level of truthful disclosure is deemed reasonable).
And even though it doesn’t cost anything to provide brief snippets of common sense public safety information, like say for instance, “please be aware of the danger presented by broken bats and foul balls”… it’s still about M-O-N-E-Y.
This represents the crux of why you’ve never heard anyone express concern about the downside of wireless hyper-connectivity in large venues. But trust me, if you’re willing to objectively view the issue with a long-term event horizon, you’ll likely arrive at the following conclusion — the deliberate weaponizing of a human stampede would be a big deal.
Now most people have never given this national security issue any consideration. But there are a lot of people who already know about it. So how can I make that statement with absolute certainty? Well, because I told them. And I’ve been telling them, and I will continue to tell them, until the matter is adequately addressed. The alternative is to sit idly by and wait for a tragedy to occur, or at the very least, be ATTEMPTED. Considering the current and future state of communication technology, such a trajectory is both unacceptable and unsustainable.
So just who are these people who already know about the problem but would prefer to remain silent? Well, I don’t personally know their names but I can point you in a few pretty solid directions.
As part of an extensive, ongoing public service campaign, I’ve taken it upon myself to post relevant safety information on the official facebook pages of professional sports franchises and NCAA universities. The result — some of the individuals who moderate those pages have had me permanently blocked. Here is a sample of the organizations that chose to deliberately deny their fans access to generically critical, life-preserving information.
National Football League — Pittsburgh Steelers, Cincinnati Bengals, Oakland Raiders, Seattle Seahawks, Carolina Panthers, Philadelphia Eagles, Houston Texans, New Orleans Saints, Tennessee Titans, Arizona Cardinals, Buffalo Bills, Jacksonville Jaguars, Baltimore Ravens, Denver Broncos.
NCAA Division I Universities — Southern Mississippi, Baylor, South Carolina, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Oklahoma, Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Western Michigan, Tennessee, Boston College, Arizona, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Kansas, Florida International, Western Kentucky, Louisville, Southern Methodist, Idaho, Ball State, East Carolina, Akron, Buffalo, Bowling Green, Northern Illinois, Northwestern, Toledo, Georgia Southern, South Alabama, Hawaii, Central Florida, Louisiana Lafayette, San Jose State, Wake Forest, Tulsa, Connecticut, Eastern Michigan, Washington, Washington State, Oregon, Oregon State, Colorado State, Nebraska, North Carolina State, Notre Dame.
National Hockey League — Carolina Hurricanes, Chicago Blackhawks, Dallas Stars, Nashville Predators, Philadelphia Flyers, Winnipeg Jets, Colorado Avalanche, Florida Panthers, Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, Columbus Blue Jackets, Los Angeles Kings.
National Basketball Association — Brooklyn Nets, Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, Minnesota Timberwolves, Sacramento Kings, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Clippers, Indiana Pacers.
Major League Baseball — Atlanta Braves, Cleveland Indians, Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Angels, Milwaukee Brewers, Minnesota Twins, Cincinnati Reds, Tampa Bay Rays.
I’m guessing you weren’t prepared for such a comprehensive list. Well let me be blunt. Neither was I. And this represents just the tip of the iceberg.
So if you happen to be a distinguished member of Congress, you’re probably wondering… how many of my colleagues know about this? And how long have they known but refused to take any demonstrable action to safeguard the lives of their constituents. Also, I wonder if any of them or their aides have blocked this guy? Well, there’s only one way to find out. Ask them!
I could provide a detailed list of members of Congress. But I think it would ultimately be detrimental as it snuffs out the important elements of discussion and discovery. After all, this has always been about raising situational awareness. So instead, I’ll just publish a list of the 2016 major presidential candidates who determined it was in their best interests to have me permanently blocked:
John Kasich, Marco Rubio, George Pataki, Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee, Lincoln Chafee, Ben Carson, Rand Paul
Apparently, posting such information in a public forum could conceivably have a detrimental impact on a presidential campaign. Who woulda thought?
Oh, and by the way, here’s something to reflect on. I sent every member of Congress a letter about this issue on December 29, 2013. Not an email. It was a physical letter, with a stamp, in a real envelope, mailed via the United States Postal Service.
Three Senators and roughly a dozen members of the House had the courtesy to respond via the U.S. postal service. Who were they? Hmmm, maybe it’s a good time to reach across the aisle and do a little old-fashioned detective work. If you find that idea unsettling (hey, not everyone enjoys talking to Mitch McConnell or Harry Reid), I’d suggest contacting the Federal Communications Commission, the National Security Agency, the Department of Homeland Security or possibly even facebook President and CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) is on the list of those who took the time and effort to respond. Ironically, I think he wishes that he had never spoken.
One final thought. On January 1, 2017 there are 12 simultaneous NFL games scheduled for the time frame between 1p.m. – 4p.m. I would strongly suggest contacting NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and directly ask him about stadium security contingency planning operations. Considering the fact that nobody’s allowed to acknowledge the prospect of an “artificially generated stampede” or worst case scenario “dominipede”… well, I suspect it ain’t going well.
A black swan tragedy would not be the ideal way to kick off a new year.
So needless to say, if you wish to collect this 25 million dollar “terrorism reward”… well, I just had a powerful revelation. Just copy and paste the link to this article on the social media sites of every member of Congress. Facebook, twitter, instagram, whatever. Hey, maybe you’ll cash in. Good luck!