We got word today that one of the new Utah laws that went into effect yesterday is a name change for the Utah Office of Homeland Security.
It is now the Utah Division of Emergency Management.
Isn’t that friendlier? Sure sounds that way to me.
All this “homeland” stuff started up around 9-11. The very oddly named Patriot Act (Would Thomas Paine have gone along with electronic surveillance without warrants? One suspects not) gave us the national Division of Homeland Security, which I found odd even then.
What’s this “guarding the homeland” stuff? Used to be, we just had the “Department of Defense” and wasn’t it the job of the Department of Defense to defend us?
Apparently not, or it wasn’t up to the job, so we needed a separate department, on the national level, to defend the Homeland while the Department of Defense was defending whatever it is it defends — Iraq, as it turns out, through the clever strategem of invading it first. Ditto Afghanistan, which we have now been defending for 10 years from who exactly? No clue. Afghanis, I think. Bad Afghanis, we are told, as opposed to the good Afghanis, whoever they are. It’s confusing.
Anyway, Utah, as did other states, figured out that there was federal funding for stuff to be gotten if you could label it “homeland defense related,” so Utah set up a Utah Department of Homeland Defense to defend the Utah Homeland and started applying for funds.
We’d pretty well milked the the funding possibilities of the 2002 Olympic Games, so this was timely. Notice how every police department in the area now has a huge mobile crime response van to send to crime scenes? This is to make you more secure in your home, which is on land, so there you are, homeland security!
The whole “homeland” thing raises the image of barbed wire fences around the state, defending us from Idaho, or Nevada. Germany, during World War II, talked a lot about defending the “Heimatland” or homeland, otherwise known as the “Vaterland” and comparisons would have been really ugly if someone had named our own bunch the “Division of fatherland security,” I think we can agree, so let us give thanks nobody thought of that.
How Homeland Security was to handle the current flooding thing, which involves water, not land, is a mystery. Maybe that’s why the name change.