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Another reason to go online

Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
North County Times
October 30, 2001


While the American military fights a war halfway around the world, American civilians are involved in a domestic struggle which has turned the United Postal Service into a weapons delivery systems. As of this writing, biological letter bombs have claimed 3 lives, and three others in serious condition. Although the source of these attacks is unknown, the intent is clear: terrorize Americans.

Thankfully, Californians have yet to be targeted. This in no way means that we need not be present to the potential threat posed by those wishing to shake the foundations of American life. As the broadcast media has so adequately demonstrated, it takes only a trace amount of a biological agent to send the United States government into a full fledged panic. If wide spread fear is the goal, the terrorists have already achieved it.

Last week, Postmaster John Potter, honestly assessed the situation when he stated that safety of the postal system could not be guaranteed. The Bush Administration on the other hand tried to down play the potential anthrax threat when White House spokesperson Ari Fleischer said, "People should feel safe opening their mail."

Addressing the conflicting opinions three experts on biological weapons contradicted claims made by the administration. The anthrax strike against Washington targets involved a highly refined powder, not the primitive form of the germ as reported by federal officials. Because the federal government is unable to adequately prevent the Postal Service from being used as a pawn of violence, or unwilling to report the extent of the threat facing Americans, now is the time for all of us to make a shift away from the conventional way we post mail.

San Diego County, the most connected community in the nation, already has in place the necessary infrastructure to protect itself and circumvent the postal battlefield. Although the internet was predicted to one day revolutionize the way people communicate, no one prophesied it would be agents of chaos prompting the revolution. But change we must.

The biocentric worldview holds that all things are connected. Whereas burning of fossil fuels contribute to the global warming associated with the greenhouse effect so too does the wholesale removal of trees needed to make stationary, envelopes, and greeting cards.

By embracing cyberspace as our primary way of communicating with friends and family, we not only help lessen the likeihood of exposure to germ welfare, we also go along way to reduce the use of paper, and the ecoterrorism of deforestation.

When signing the Patriot Anti Terrorism Bill, George W. Bush said he was "changing the laws that govern information sharing,' creating ‘Important new tools to fight a present danger." The public and private sectors should be willing to do the same. Moving to an Internet based communication should not be seen as retreat but as a wise evolution in communication technology.

Electronic based correspondence does have its drawbacks, all of which can and should be considered. But when weighing the clear and present danger against the uncertainty of change, we should err on the side of caution and ecological wisdom. The silver lining, if there is one, perhaps will be the victory garden we plant will by leaving ecosystems intact.

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