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A sign on the door at the Skagway ferry terminal Saturday said "MARSEC Level 1 Heightened Security Risk."
It's funny. I grew up in the middle of the Cold War, when we knew that at every moment of the day, enough nuclear missiles were pointed at us by our enemies to eradicate us and all life on earth. But, with the exception of the Cuban missile crisis, we never were warned by the government of a heightened security risk.
Does anyone really believe that terrorists are about to strike Skagway, Juneau, or the ferry Malaspina, as it motors between Skagway and Juneau?
What purpose is served by signs warning of a "heightened security risk" in Skagway?
I can think of one: to make us fear. When we are afraid, we are easy to lead, and we are agreeable to spending our money on all manner of expensive things promising increased security, like remote control cameras, weapons and wars in far-off lands.
In our part of Alaska, we have more to fear from brown bears than we do from terrorists. We should, however, be wary of government officials and politicians who would keep us in a constant state of fear.