Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Suspicious Package

The Pentagon, March 2008. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)

I wrote yesterday's analysis of carbon emissions and realized that, today, I didn't have to drive anywhere mid-day during work.

So I took Metro.

Unfortunately for me, someone chose today to discard a bag. Maybe they didn't even realize that there was an electronic ornament in the bag, or that the ornament was on, blinking merrily.

What do you think, when you see a brown bag with faint blinking lights in a lead-lined trash can? If you're in the Pentagon Metro station, you presume the worse.

For 90 minutes, during the height of DC rush hour, the Pentagon Metro was closed while authorities gingerly attempted to identify and diffuse the suspicious package.

I and thousands of other commuters using public transit only learned of the incident upon arriving at the Pentagon transfer station.

Luckily, I was able to board another bus that took me into DC proper (the Pentagon is actually in Virginia). My delay ended up being a mere 30 minutes - not bad, actually.

But I'm reminded again of the reason I want to have a small carbon footprint, food sources relatively free of foreign oil, and at least the ability to accommodate basic functions in the absence of functioning municipal utilities.

We live in an era of "suspicious packages." Most of them will turn out to be stupid stuff, like today's blinking ornament. But there could be days when water or power or transportation become unavailable. Heck, nature has taken away modern convenience several times for me in this area, between hurricanes and snowstorms and just plain thunderstorms.

My next several posts will touch on ways to be prepared, in case of emergency.

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