Local officials do not dismiss the terrorist threat, but many are trying to retool counterterrorism programs so that they focus more directly on combating gun violence, narcotics trafficking and gangs — while arguing that these programs, too, should qualify for federal financing, on the theory that terrorists may engage in criminal activity as a precursor to an attack.
Of course it’s stupid to get small towns in the middle of nowhere to guard themselves against IEDs (which tend in the US to be used only against federal office buildings and abortion clinics, after all). But It’s really not that unreasonable to expect that money given to states and towns for combating terrorism be used to, combat actual terrorism rather than just random crime and violence.
Except there isn’t any actual terrorism in most of the country (at least not the islamic kind). The Feds have gutted their usual law-enforcement aid to states and cities, and Bush-era tax cuts (which automatically propagate to the tax laws of most states) have gutted budgets even further. So if someone is handing out free money to do something really stupid, why not take it and do something you already need to do, and just tell the stupid people you’re using it to do stupid things?
Because, it turns out, eventually they audit you and start insisting you do the stupid things you promised to do in the first place.
This article is just more stupidity piled on top, because it buys into the idea that the enormous slush fund that is Homeland Security funding should just be diverted to whatever local people think they need, instead of, say, funding law enforcement and other local priorities properly. (Of course, you can’t do that because that would require tax revenue; Homeland Security and war funding, meanwhile, just go on the credit card.)
And that is also why we end up spending Homeland security money on making sure that rubes get to casinos safely.