You are hereTalking Points Memo: Iowa County Cancels Drill That Drew Ire Of Anti-Immigration Groups

Talking Points Memo: Iowa County Cancels Drill That Drew Ire Of Anti-Immigration Groups

March 25, 2011- A planned disaster drill aimed at testing the readiness of emergency services in southwestern Iowa to deal with a school shooting has been canceled, after threats phoned into schools and days of criticism. Anti-immigrant groups claimed the exercise painted them in an unfair light.

The Pottawatomie County, IA Emergency Management Agency designed the exercise, which simulated a school shooting by racist students. The goal of the exercise, according to one official behind the plan, was to "prepare for a worst-case scenario to build our capacity for such an event and to test any gaps in our response system."

But anti-immigration groups said the real plan was to paint them as armed and dangerous. That's when the Internet ire, and eventually the threats phoned into public schools in Pottowatomie, began.

From the Des Moines Register:

Members of so-called patriot groups opposed to illegal immigration had strongly objected to the plans for the exercise, which would have been held at the Treynor High School. Their complaints focused on a fictional scenario for the drill based on young white supremacists shooting dozens of people amid rising tensions involving racial minorities and illegal immigrants who moved into the area.

Patriot group leaders complained the exercise was intended to portray people who legally possess guns and who fight illegal immigration as extremists.

The plan was to include "more than 300 people" in the exercise, from "about 42 agencies, including area hospitals, fire departments, law enforcement agencies, schools and other organizations." No state or federal agencies were involved.



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