A Dog of a Day

Step out of line at your peril, warns Allen Myers.


PLEASE sit down. There is water in the glass there. Would you also like tea? Or coffee?

Thank you. No, water is fine, nothing else. Thank you.

Are you represented by an attorney?

A lawyer? Uh, no. Should I be?

It's up to you. For example, if you think you might be charged with an offence, people in that situation usually require an attorney.

Am I likely to be charged with an offence?

As far as we know now, that is not likely. But that is one of the reasons for this interview: to be certain. Also, if you thought we had done something wrong in our procedure, you might want to have an attorney present to represent you in that respect.

Your procedure? You mean in how you handled the incident.

Either the potential terrorist incident, or how we dealt with the subsequent matters: whether we informed you properly, the accuracy and tone of the media release — that sort of thing.

No, no, I certainly can't complain about being informed… It was very prompt, only…don't know, only a few hours, maybe less than an hour after…after the, the…

Please, have some water. Yes, after the PTI. We try to inform the family as quickly as possible, so that they hear first from us, not from rumours or some sensationalist television report … Are you able to continue now?

Yes, I'm all right now. I don't want to be difficult, but she…she... It was just such a shock. I had no idea…

You are not alone; it's nearly always a shock for the relatives. Unless they were planning something illegal.

Do you think I was? I assure you, I have never been involved with anything like that.

I wasn't suggesting anything. I was just telling you what our statistics show about PTI. Usually the family is surprised.

I certainly was.

So you hadn't seen anything that would make you worry that your daughter might step out of line?

No! Nothing! If I had, of course I would have informed the appropriate authorities.

And yet, she did, very definitely.

How can you be so sure? I can't believe…

It's all recorded. This was in a very public place, after all. You know they're monitored.

Yes, of course, I know. It was a department store. Well protected.

And you know why they have to be protected.

Yes. The terrorists. They prefer to attack places where there are crowds.

Because?

Because their goal is to destroy human life. The more people they can kill, the happier they are.

And therefore?

And therefore, we must be vigilant at all times, to ensure the safety of the community.

You have a commendable knowledge of the methods for foiling the terrorist threat.

I've studied the material that comes in the letterbox, and of course I watch TV — especially Stop Terrorism Central.

Good, good. Its information is very reliable. Now, you had instructed your daughter in how to behave in a crowd situation?

Oh yes, many times. Look straight ahead. Maintain the proper distance from the person in front of you. Don't step out of line. Don't bend down. If you are carrying a bag, hold it in front of you with both hands and do not reach inside it. Any variation may be regarded as a PTI.

Because?

Because the enemy may come in any disguise, so any possible threat requires an immediate response.

What kind of response?

An immediate and deadly response to prevent the potential terrorist incident…and…and…

Yes, that's right. Go ahead…

…and to protect our people and homeland.

It's the only way to ensure the greatest good of the greatest number, as we know. Do you have any questions about the event itself?

It would have been quick, wouldn't it? She wouldn't have suffered?

Oh, no question! You needn't worry about that. Of course, I can't say anything about exactly how they do it, but a tactical response group action is as close as you can get to instantaneous. No one has a chance to think about what has hit them.

And is there any indication of why she…she…created the PTI?

From the recording, it appears that a small dog ran onto the escalator. Your daughter stepped to one side and bent down, perhaps intending to pick it up or pat it.

Oh, no! How could she? For a puppy?

Of course, we are examining the department store record and the street record to determine whether the small dog may have been introduced to the situation by terrorists. If that turns out to be the case, I assure you we will track them down and bring them to justice.

Thank you. That would be a consolation.