Mythical Creatures

There was an actually noteworthy event today, if one of minor importance:  the feds test-ran a national emergency message system, one that simultaneously interrupted radio, broadcast television, and cable signals.

Problem is, I can’t figure out why we’d ever need to notify the entire nation of anything.  Emergencies only engage one locality at a time, and any hypothetical ones that affected more than one place would be so terrifying that paying attention to the feds would be the least of our concerns.  It’d not likely be very helpful, anyway.  So what is it actually for?

One theory about why people are so fascinated by conspiracy theories, perceiving hidden agency behind anything and everything, is that it’s comforting — the world at large is chaotic and uncontrolled, and we fear what we cannot anticipate.  Believing that a shadowy conspiracy – which nonetheless has well-defined properties, motivations, methods, and goals – is responsible for things makes us feel more secure than acknowledging that no one is in control.

With that in mind, I sometimes like to play a game in which I declare a given event to be the result of some conspiracy, and then make up stories about ‘who’ and ‘why’.  In this case, ‘who’ is defined – the federal authories – so the only degrees of freedom offered to our fancy consist of ‘why’.

Perhaps a secret terrorist cabal has come up with a true ‘basilisk’ image and is slowly setting the stage to drive most of the nation to madness and death, hmmm?

Do you have any suggestions?  Leave them in the comments.

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