Although many of us scoffed at those who rushed to the home supply store for duct tape and plastic sheeting, the Office of Homeland Security has now unveiled a Web site that convincingly lays out what Americans should do to plan for a terrorist attack.
The site, www.ready.gov, is part of a public information campaign designed not to frighten us but to help us take action if need be. It says we can be scared or we can be ready in the aftermath of the World Trade Center and Pentagon terrorist attacks.
There is good information to be had on the Web site. It tells you about the different kinds of biological and chemical attacks and what to do in case of each. It gives you a checklist of emergency supplies, including the infamous duct tape and plastic sheeting, but also such common-sense items as a manual can opener, moist towelettes and a whistle to call for help. It even gives you a recipe for purifying water with bleach (16 drops of regular bleach to a gallon of water).
Reading all this can scare the daylights out of anyone, and the government is aware of that. It did polls and focus groups on the campaign and, at first, tested a theme involving Americans as citizen soldiers. But that just scared those in the focus groups, and the government then determined that the most compelling call to action was to protect one