Could there be a downside to Donald Trump tweeting the word “bomb?”
First off, this is not a hypothetical. It’s reality. On 10-28-18 (at 3:14 am no less), Trump sent out the following tweet:
Funny how lowly rated CNN, and others, can criticize me at will, even blaming me for the current spate of Bombs and ridiculously comparing this to September 11th and the Oklahoma City bombing, yet when I criticize them they go wild and scream, “it’s just not Presidential!”
Please note how he capitalized the word “bomb” and in the same sentence, followed it up with the word “bombing.” And then continued, after presumably getting some sleep, about 6 hours later…
Republicans are doing so well in early voting, and at the polls, and now this “Bomb” stuff happens and the momentum greatly slows – news not talking politics. Very unfortunate, what is going on. Republicans, go out and vote!
And then another…
I will be speaking at the Young Black Leadership Summit in 15 minutes where I will address the investigation into the bomb packages.
And yet another in the form of a “tweet speech.” I suspect someone from his national security apparatus likely discouraged him from using the actual b-word. He skillfully replaced it with “packages and devices.”
I would like to begin today’s remarks by providing an update on the packages and devices that have been mailed to high-profile figures throughout our Country, and a media org. I am pleased to inform you that law enforcement has apprehended the suspect and taken him into custody.
So should any of this activity raise a red flag?
Well, when there’s been 24/7 news coverage about IEDs (improvised explosive devices) being sent to the Clintons, the Obamas, high ranking politicians/officials and billionaire donors, it’s safe to say that what has transpired represents an unusual dynamic. Oh, and I nearly forgot the emergency evacuation of the entire CNN New York office. Sometimes a single threat can have broader consequences. Regardless, I think we can all agree that this past week’s events fall outside the conventional norm. Even though none of the bombs were detonated, these makeshift devices created an atmosphere of fear and hysteria across the Untied States. In Florida, New York, New Jersey, Washington, D.C., California, and so on.
The arrest of serial mail-bomber 56 year old Cesar Sayoc came on the heels of an explosive New York Times report that Trump often uses an unsecured iPhone. Without going into extensive detail, we’ll just say this makes him an electronic billboard for cyber-espionage. With regard to surveillance, spying, and hacking… Donald Trump is likely the most sought after target on the planet earth.
Naturally, Trump tweeted back…
The so-called experts on Trump over at the New York Times wrote a long and boring article on my cellphone usage that is so incorrect I do not have time here to correct it. I only use Government Phones, and have only one seldom used government cell phone. Story is soooo wrong!
Sent, of course, from his iPhone. Seriously, you can’t make this stuff up. Perhaps I should qualify that. You can’t make this “bomb stuff“ up. There, that’s better.
I often wonder why no journalist has ever inquired, “if a tweet was sent from Donald Trump’s official twitter account, and the President denied writing and/or sending the actual tweet, would this constitute a national emergency? Or would it merely qualify as an unfortunate incident?” Considering the account’s exposure and notoriety, it would seem like a fair question. Another good question — exactly who has access to Trump’s twitter account and can you offer any assurance that the account itself is 100% secure? Aside from the previous incidents where it was deliberately shut down or incoherently mishandled (#covfefe)? Just for the record, Trump’s twitter account boasts 55.3 million followers and is actively monitored by every cable network, flocks of national reporters as well as government agencies and terrorist spy networks across the globe.
Donald Trump appears to have a fragile ego and tends to personalize things. And he often tweets impetuously and insultingly with little regard for political upheaval or real-world consequence.
While hurt feelings are one thing, I’m specifically concerned about the reckless desensitization and callous indifference to the cellular usage of the word “bomb.” Keep in mind, his behavior gives anyone and everyone on the internet a “get out of jail free card” for using the word “bomb” on social media. Hey, if the POTUS can tweet about bombs, why can’t I?
President Trump also seems to have a perpetual axe to grind with the National Football League and often caters to conspiracy theorists in order to promote his personal agenda. And he has no qualms when it comes to tweeting about emergency evacuations (wildfires, hurricanes, etc.)
Now let’s reflect on all of this and create a hypothetical scenario. Instead of political representatives and government officials being targeted with tangible bombs via the U.S. Postal Service, what if the internet was aggressively saturated with a barrage of bomb threats directed toward NFL stadiums, high profile players, coaches, sports journalists, league insiders, the networks and so on?
And naturally, Trump took to twitter…
How might fans react to a tweet of this nature? Would any of them “hedge their bets” and gravitate towards the concourses or exits? How might people who knowingly have friends and family inside an NFL stadium react to this tweet? Would they try to contact them and share their concerns? How might the cable news networks react? Last time I checked, the anchors of CNN, MSNBC & FOX analyze his tweets and respond in real-time. It’s called live television.
It’s easy to envision a scenario where the President could have the noblest of intentions (attempting to protect the citizens of the United States), and still manage to foment chaos and basically create the very stampede(s) he was instinctively trying to prevent.
Well, as luck would have it, I have a website that just happens to deal with the wireless equivalent of shouting “FIRE” in a crowded theater. But on a much grander scale.
So what’s the solution here? Well, regrettably, there is no full-proof solution. The “artificially generated stampede” is a future hypothetical disaster. However, with each passing day, this generic, asymmetric cyberthreat becomes increasingly realistic. As I was saying, there is no band-aid or quick fix for this looming national security threat.
Yet, in the spirit of the Department of Homeland Security’s “See Something Say Something” campaign, I’ll give it a shot.
How about we just tell people the truth?
Official emergency evacuation orders for large, confined crowds (stadiums, ballparks, etc.) would NEVER be delivered via your personal cell phone. If an evacuation is deemed absolutely necessary, authorities use the public address system in tandem with the video monitors to present a clear, unified, all-encompassing directive. They would not use cell phones. I repeat. Cell phones would NEVER be part of the initial equation. Despite what the government and private industry deliberately conceal, or indifferently fail to divulge, you are allowed to know stuff like this.
Unfortunately, there is no guaranteed solution to an artificially generated stampede. But at the very least, we can divulge common sense public safety information. At a bare minimum, it’s a step in the right direction. Again, just tell people the truth. Regrettably, that’s a pretty radical concept.