All hail the ark of common sense

By Lee Keeling - Guest Column
Dec. 26, 2017 at 4:27 p.m.

Lee Keeling

Lee Keeling   Contributed Photo for The Victoria Advocate

Last week, the Advocate reported that officials are set to release the formerly "secret" emergency plan. County officials demurred, saying, "The only reason it hasn't been (released) until now is that no one has asked for it."

Well, narrative shifting is indeed becoming an art form in the age of Trump. I thought the only reason we knew it was secret was that the paper had asked for it and couldn't get it.

All that aside, here's the real inside scoop on all this. As reported in the paper, to keep the plan secret, officials apparently relied on an unfortunate 2013 attorney general's opinion, known to have been written while the attorney general was drunk and overwrought, that "said the entire plan should be hidden because publishing any part of it could provide criminals with information needed to carry out acts of terrorism." The opinion went on to talk at length about the need to protect our bodily fluids, but that wasn't necessarily relevant to emergency plans per se.

For its part, county officials say it's always willing to comb through the plan, take out all the "sensitive parts" (including the pictures of naked people), and release the rest. According to the article, "officials are now planning to spend the next months redacting confidential information such as officials' personal cellphone numbers and tactical plans of law enforcement." This will take months, because the document is reportedly 4 inches thick. That's right, 4 inches. Dad gummit, that's a lot of writin'. Maybe after they remove the naked pictures, it'll be down to 31/2 inches or so.

Details of this important document come from unnamed sources who've actually been allowed to view the black binder it lives in and who have spoken to us on condition of anonymity. These sources confirm that the thickness of the document is, at best, a rough estimate. However, "the binder is of a very robust construction, with a ballistic nylon cover," said one. "I'd say it's tactical. It's not a flimsy notebook like anybody could buy at H-E-B or Office Depot. The closest a civilian could come would be maybe like at Cabela's, but this looked like your real SPEC OP document binding technology to me."

The plan, which in case of emergency is designed to be deployed following a prescribed set of scriptural incantations in a manner similar to the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch is ensconced in a vacuum-sealed golden ark and kept in a climate-controlled vault with lead walls, located 200 feet underneath the sheriff's office.

From thence it shall come, in an armored elevator car, to the basement of the DA's office, where heavily tactical security tacticians, dressed in appropriately tactical gear, will convey it to an undisclosed tactical location to be unsealed, tactically, in a ceremony attended by city and county officials dressed in the long, black-hooded robes they wear whenever they go into closed session.

After some chanting, someone will realize that no one can remember the password, and a tactically-clad deputy will be dispatched back to city hall to get the password off the yellow sticky note on Mary Ann's computer monitor.

After suggesting to the staff that for security reasons, they should consider using only tactical sticky notes in the future, the agent will return to the gathering using the certain-to-be-redacted pre-planned tactical password recovery route.

Once he's back, officials will finally open the Ark of the Emergency Plan. If their faces don't melt like wax, they will withdraw from the secure crypt the secretest of secrets, the personal cellphone number of local real estate agent John Crews, which actually appears on a billboard somewhere along Navarro. They will call John and ask him if he can impart a little common sense to all this.

Lee Keeling is not originally from Victoria, but got here as quick as he could. He practices law, reads a lot, writes a little here and there, and rides a bike to excess. You can contact him at lee.keeling@gmail.com.


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