It is hard to conceive a more base hijacking of homeland security than what is now happening between egotistic speculators and yellow journalists eager to stoke a panic over this personal tragedy. (See http://www.google.com/gwt/x?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.bostonherald.com/news/regional/view.bg%3Farticleid%3D1281024%26format%3D%26page%3D2%26listingType%3DLoc&wsi=2905647a0c44fc0a&ei=dySOTMDlHJ3SrgPbr5GgAg&wsc=pr&whp=3AarticleFull.)
What happened? A Northwestern University lab tech, apparently distraught over losing her job, took her life using cyanide. To compound the tragedy, though, media reports are now turning an otherwise personal, inward event into hysteria about loose control over cyanide in school labs. Not only is this a callous move that aggravates the circumstances for the suicide's family, it gives rise to ridiculous frenzy. Suicides use what they have at hand. Lock up all the lab chemicals, inventory them daily, and then what? Will you also lock up all the bodies of water to preclude intentional drowning? How about bridges and tall buildings, to bar death by leap from high places?
Some controls may be worth a second look, but turning the troubled, dead woman into a theoretical enabler of terrorist attacks is wildly speculative and insensitive in the extreme. Even the reporter advancing this notion sews the seeds of doubt, however, as the article can't help having one of its expert quotes point out that cyanide of the kind mentioned here is more applicable to attacking small numbers of people. Another quote has a security director opining that the young woman was distraught. It is the reporter, however, who leaps from "distraught" to "disgruntled." This proves how handy the dead can be, since they can neither defend their reputations nor retaliate against hasty accusations. It reflects poorly on reporter and accuser, diminishing credibility of all eager to speculate. One day, they may have a real terrorist threat to announce. That will be precisely the day intended victims will ignore the warning from sources tarnished by crying wolf as they are doing today.
-- Nick Catrantzos