Move Over McGruff, There's a New Crime Dog in Town

|

Via Matt Welch and some other shadowy operatives working the margins of all that is good and decent and red, white, and blue comes news that the Department of Homeland Security is wisely taking a page from Cuban and East German secret police handbooks.

How? By enlisting kids to "educate" their parents about terrorist threats to Mother America. Reports USA Today:

Starting next month, children in grades 4 though 8 and employers nationwide will be asked to help get families and companies better prepared to respond to a crisis.

In schools, on the Internet and in TV and radio ads, youngsters will be introduced to a new Homeland Security mascot: a dog (an American shepherd) that will be named in a contest. The campaign, using the dog and a set of Ad Council advertisements, will encourage families to develop an emergency plan and talk about where kids should go, who will pick them up and how they will make contact.

Whole story here.

As more proof that Tom Ridge is actually a caveman who has been shaved and squeezed into a suit, there exists some real questions as to whether there is in fact an "American shepherd" breed of dog. There is something called the American Tundra Shepherd, a mix of the Alaskan Tundra Wolf and German Shepherds (those German Shepherds have ways of making you talk).

Apparently, the nation's most famous crime-fighting pooch, McGruff, is not allowed to engage in espionage, so he can't simply lend his talents to this needed effort. Worse yet, the J. Edgar Hoover of the canine world apparently can't even share information with this new Homeland Security counterpart. Wasn't the PATRIOT Act supposed to break down these sorts of bureaucratic problems and promote sharing of intelligence among cartoon symbols? When we ever learn?

Anyhoo, the name for the new DHS dog mascot will be selected via a contest. It's just a shame that Phevos and Athena are taken.

Please suggest names–and exsiting breeds–for this new position.

NEXT: Pick A Candidate, Any Candidate

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Time to bring back Droopy.

  2. kinda reminds me of the contests in belgium, spain, and france (probably others, but that’s where i was when said contests were popular) that had the children “teaching their parents” about how glorious and wonderful the eu is.

    a brit i know did something like that in her community club and actually believed that there’s a “common european history and culture” – you shoulda seen the other’s face (who was slovenian and lived there most of her life).

    when bureaucrats get going, it’s amazing how universal it is!

    “duck and cover”.
    drf

  3. The Security Weasel (via Britain’s http://www.theregister.co.uk): the Business Software Association is starting a similar campaign among schoolchildren, presumably to indoctrinate them against the evils of software piracy. Their mascot is a weasel (we think). Here’s the link to the article: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/08/12/bsa_superhero_ferret/

  4. The Security Weasel (via Britain’s http://www.theregister.co.uk): the Business Software Association is starting a similar campaign among schoolchildren, presumably to indoctrinate them against the evils of software piracy. Their mascot is a weasel (we think). Here’s the link to the article: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/08/12/bsa_superhero_ferret/

  5. The Security Weasel (via Britain’s http://www.theregister.co.uk): the Business Software Association is starting a similar campaign among schoolchildren, presumably to indoctrinate them against the evils of software piracy. Their mascot is a weasel (we think). Here’s the link to the article: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/08/12/bsa_superhero_ferret/

  6. I provided excerpts from the America Prepared Campaign’s materials in an 8/8/04 post. There’s a contest to win Tom Ridge as principal for a day.

  7. I envision a muscle-bound “banned” dog, like a pit bull or Rottweiler, with a spike-studded black leather harness, with a gaping maw of razor-sharp teeth. Name: Pickles the Watch Dog

  8. “…there exists some real questions as to whether there is in fact an “American shepherd” breed of dog.”

    I think you may have misunderstood the DHS. When they described the dog as an “American shepherd”, they weren’t naming a specific breed of dog; they were talking about a class of dogs. I suspect this type of dog would fall under the Working dog category which includes Guard dogs, Hunting dogs, etc. The American shepherd will be a new category, and the name of the class is a little confusing until you consider what this type of dog does. Indeed, what else would you call a dog whose sole purpose is to shepherd Americans?

  9. Oh wait. Did I just post something a bit off-topic?

    I propose, as the name for the terror-fighting Freedom Poodle:

    Duckin Cover.

  10. Oh wait. Did I just post something a bit off-topic?

    I propose, as the name for the terror-fighting Freedom Poodle:

    Duckin Cover.

  11. My nominal suggestion is Blondie, because Barney is taken and Spot too recently mourned.

    TJ

  12. One more argument for home schooling…

  13. I nominate a German shepherd called Stasi (that’s “shtaa’-zee”)…

  14. I nominate a Kuvasz dog… gorgeous, intimidating, self-sufficient, creative, tough as nails, and has a mind of its OWN, dammit.

  15. A black lab named Belle. I only say this because that’s my roomie’s dog and it’s the nosiest dog on earth.

  16. The obvious breed is the Shih Tzu.

  17. I propose “Parsons,” after Winston Smith’s next-door neighbor’s children, who are constantly on the lookout for thoughtcriminals and traitors.

    Parsons, the Terror-Fighting Dog. Perfect!

  18. In keeping with the Greek theme of this Olympic year, I suggest Phobos.

  19. Christ, isn’t it hard enough being a kid these days, without having to feel responsible for keeping your family safe from terror, too?

    Responsible parents should already have plans. This is really just a program to get thoughtless parents to actually give some thought to the matter.

    I notice that employers are also supposed to help their employees prepare for terrorism, as well. Does this mean I’ll get some paid time off to go stock up on canned goods and duct tape?

    As the article plainly states, employers are being asked to make sure their employees know how to get out of the building, or contact the company, in the case of an emergency.

    The headline of this article should be “Government Urges Citizens To Have Some Common Sense”. Why you all are complaining about it mystifies me. It must be a reflex action.

  20. How about Teresa (pronounced tah-raise-ah, as in John Kerry wants Teresa your taxes).

    The bitch can bark “Shove it!”

  21. How about a dog named Stallin’?

  22. I’m pretty sure that the “American Shepherd” dog is not a reference to a particular breed, rather an allusion to its function:

    To watch over, guide, and protect the American Sheeple.

  23. This reminds me of safety seminars when I was in grammar school. The instructors convinced us that our houses were in imminent danger of burning down… we were all told to keep our doors closed to prevent smoke from coming into our room and told about escape ladders that our family should have. My friend put all of her stuffed animals in a bag and left them by her front door at night so she could save the in case she had to run outside during a fire. Her father finally convinced her that this was really a remote possibility.

    I realize that schools have to sometimes step in for the parents’ inadequacies when it comes to health and dietary issues, but I really don’t think that young students are equipped to handle issues of their family’s safety plans.

  24. When criminals in this world appear
    And break the laws that they should fear
    And frighten all who see or hear
    The cry goes up both far and near for
    Underdog!

    Speed of lightning, roar of thunder!
    Fighting all who rob or plunder!
    Underdog!
    Underdog!

  25. Well, in a similar vein, I think the Business Software Alliance has them beat on the mascot level. They “revealed the new mascot Tuesday as part of a national campaign to scare kids out of using peer-to-peer networks.” The new mascot? A ferret. Or is it a weasel, or maybe a rat? Either way, great job there, guys.

  26. Please suggest names–and exsiting breeds–for this new position.

    How about “Goebbels?”

  27. I guess Triumph The Insult Comic Dog was busy.
    He has the answer for every problem: “I WEEL POOP ON IT!”

  28. Or maybe Mr. Winkle could be persuaded to lend his tongue to the anti-terror slogan “Lick al Qaeda.”

  29. I vote for “Payback.” Just make sure it’s a bitch.

  30. It should be a border collie, i.e., one of the border collies that win those animal planet dog agility shows. This is necessary to nimbly navigate the minefield of civil liberties violations that DHS/TSA will generate.

    I’m blanking on a name…perhaps “tailgunner.” (Senator McCarthy’s nickname) Or maybe just HUAC?

  31. I’ve got it!!!! How about “Manzanar?” (WWII Japanese internment camp)

  32. Why is it always a dog. I think a cat or a rabbit would work. Hobbes from “Calvin and Hobbes” with Tom Ridge being Calvin. If not that then Buggs Bunny would certainly work!

  33. Well as long as we’re thinking Greek: Cerberus. It was the 3 headed (emphasizing the need of being two-faced) dog that guarded the entrance to Hades (in the name of security presumably).

  34. Too bad “SNOOPY” is already taken.

  35. was there a bit about the kids being asked to report any ‘suspicious behavior’ by their parents? that would complete the circle!

  36. How about Blowback? Or Novus Ordo?

  37. Life is now officially imitating the Onion!

    “Department of Homeland Security Deputizes Real Mean Dog”
    http://premium.theonion.com/news/index.php?id=1138

    Sadly, it’s only available as premium content.

    Oh, and their dog is named Rufus.

  38. This really isn’t new. Ever throw a soda can in the trash in front of a school kid?

  39. Goddamn, thoreau, you rock! I had this nagging little hangnail in the back of my mind telling me that this seemed eerily familiar. Now I remember that article. If not for you, I would have sat around wondering where I’d seen this before, like when you can’t remember the name of some B-actor you saw in some made-for-TV movie.

    Sadly, this ain’t the first time life imitated The Onion. [see “Bush: ‘Our Long National Nightmare Of Peace And Prosperity Is Finally Over'”]

    Yes, while the halfwits at the Homeland Paranoia Agency COULD be spending our tax dollars on securing the ports (or, jsut giving our tax dollars back and letting the free market protect the ports), instead, they are funneling dough into fucking doggie MASCOTS and enlisting children to “educate” their parents on the dangers of TERRRA!

    Meanwhile, I see that fool Bush on teevee yesterday in an ad with his xanax-ed wife, Laura, sitting dreamily by his side and staring off into space. Anyway, first, he talks about how he “could’t imagine being a mother in NYC on 9/11, having to wonder which of your kids to pick up first” or some fool shit like that. Then he mentions some tripe about how the evildoers are gonna do some more evil unless we do everything in our power to kill the evildoers before they partake in said evil.

    Almost made me vomit. Funny, Bushieboy, you talk about a mommie on 9/11…but what about the other mommies? Could imagine being a mother who has to bury her teenage son just so that you could stand on an aircraft carrier and yell “mission accomplished”? This crook is still evoking 9/11 bogeymen. Meanwhile, he and Kerry are in a race to the bottom to see who can pander to the most voting blocs and make empty promises of how they’re going to steal everyone’s money to pay for [insert voting bloc here]’s free health care.

    Sorry for the tangent…

  40. Goddamn, thoreau, you rock! I had this nagging little hangnail in the back of my mind telling me that this seemed eerily familiar. Now I remember that article. If not for you, I would have sat around wondering where I’d seen this before, like when you can’t remember the name of some B-actor you saw in some made-for-TV movie.

    Sadly, this ain’t the first time life imitated The Onion. [see “Bush: ‘Our Long National Nightmare Of Peace And Prosperity Is Finally Over'”]

    Yes, while the halfwits at the Homeland Paranoia Agency COULD be spending our tax dollars on securing the ports (or, jsut giving our tax dollars back and letting the free market protect the ports), instead, they are funneling dough into fucking doggie MASCOTS and enlisting children to “educate” their parents on the dangers of TERRRA!

    Meanwhile, I see that fool Bush on teevee yesterday in an ad with his xanax-ed wife, Laura, sitting dreamily by his side and staring off into space. Anyway, first, he talks about how he “could’t imagine being a mother in NYC on 9/11, having to wonder which of your kids to pick up first” or some fool shit like that. Then he mentions some tripe about how the evildoers are gonna do some more evil unless we do everything in our power to kill the evildoers before they partake in said evil.

    Almost made me vomit. Funny, Bushieboy, you talk about a mommie on 9/11…but what about the other mommies? Could imagine being a mother who has to bury her teenage son just so that you could stand on an aircraft carrier and yell “mission accomplished”? This crook is still evoking 9/11 bogeymen. Meanwhile, he and Kerry are in a race to the bottom to see who can pander to the most voting blocs and make empty promises of how they’re going to steal everyone’s money to pay for [insert voting bloc here]’s free health care.

    Sorry for the tangent…

  41. Christ, isn’t it hard enough being a kid these days, without having to feel responsible for keeping your family safe from terror, too?

    I notice that employers are also supposed to help their employees prepare for terrorism, as well. Does this mean I’ll get some paid time off to go stock up on canned goods and duct tape?

  42. I thought the “American shepherd” was just the dog world’s answer to freedom fries.

  43. Paranoia forces one to inquire as to how soon Johnny and Jill will be tasked with reporting the contents of Daddy’s gun safe and how much Jack Daniels is in the liquor cabinet…

  44. All those “funny” comments might lead to arrest sooner or later.When you are an inmate in FREEDOMCAMP(where the guards have all the freedom to prove you are unamerican),DON?T SAY I DIDN`T WARN YOU!!!

  45. I’d nominate an Afghan Hound, and name him Fink.

    Anybody want to bet that “prepardness” includes any provisions for shooting back at terrorists? Or even training your own dog to snif out problems?

  46. my vote goes to the Taco Bell dog. We could call him Larry or something…

  47. Dan-
    At my workplace, we already know how to leave the building in an emergency; we have these things called “exits” which are clearly labeled, and if the exits are blocked we even have windows big enough for a human to pass through. Likewise, if we can’t get in to work and need to tell our bosses so, we have these newfangled talkin’ machines called “telly-phones.”

    Of course, I work for the defense industry, so I figure my workplace is technologically ahead of the curve. I guess the rest of you will contact your bosses via smoke signals.

  48. Hmm, come to think of it, this explains the email everybody at work got two days ago, stating that in the event of an emergency we were to leave the buildings via the exit of our choice and then re-congregate at the picnic table under the trees. Good thing they cleared THAT up; my original plan in the event of an emergency was to have run around in ever-tightening circles while screaming “OH SHIT OH SHIT OH SHIT.” But I suppose going outside would make more sense.

  49. Cool opening ceremony.

  50. Quick Draw McGraw’s bloodhound pal, Snuffles has been out of work for a while. The only thin’ is, the way he floated on air after chompin’ down on a doggie treat, he might not pass the drug test. I wonder if QD had the same dealer for those snausages as Shaggy & Scooby did?

    Kevin
    (Ka-Bongggggg!)

  51. The Department of Homeland Security already has a mascot. His name is Spotty, and he is a dalmation:

    Hi Kids! I’m Spotty, the official mascot of the Department of Homeland Security. I have a very important role to play in the U.S. government. You see, kids, when the President of the United States needs a boost in the public opinion polls, one of the things he does is to call his good friend, Tom Ridge, so we can all play a fun game called “Connect the Dots on the Wagging Dog”.

    I’m just a spotty puppy but, it’s a great game and the grown-ups in the administration have been playing it for some time now. Just about everyone is playing Wag the Dog! Did you spot me romping around the White House rose garden on Monday with Donald Rumsfeld, Colin Powell, Tom Mueller, John McLaughlin, John Ashcroft, and Tom Ridge when George Bush said he is going to endorse the creation of another multi-billion dollar budgeted government office?

    You may not have seen me or Condoleeza Rice in the NY Times story photo, because just like some foreign leaders in the world, Dick Cheney doesn’t think I’m house-broken enough. So, Condi took me for a walk to do our business together out of the public eye. Like my boss, DHS Secretary Tom Ridge, the new Terrorism Czar will help you feel safe from the scary bad men that the only President Bush can find and stop with his super hero powers.

    Read complete (photo & links) 08/03 Thunderstorms parody:
    http://thunderstorms.blogdrive.com/archive/184.html

    -JfZ
    (My Spotty is almost as cuddly as the CIA’s Ginger Bear)

  52. Jennifer,

    Please don’t mock my emergency plan. Going outside is just what they want you to do, you’re playing right into their hands.

  53. The Winner, and still champion:

    Rhodesian Ridgeback named Tommy!

    Rhodesian: Represive regime.

    Ridgeback: if the ridge hairs are raised the threat level increases.

    Advantages:
    1. He’s already desert camo colored for work in Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, or any other mid-eastern country his boss hates.

    2. His current owner’s name gets some “good” PR in future historical comedies.

  54. Why Tommy? Because, embodying the DHS, he’s blind and deaf, right? (But plays a mean game of pinball)

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.