Walmart Partners With Homeland Security

Walmart is joining forces with the federal government in the "If You See Something, Say Something" campaign, meant to encourage citizens to be on the look out for, and report, suspicious packages or activity. The program was originally implemented by New York City's Metropolitan Transportation Authority and funded, in part, by the Department of Homeland Security. Walmart is the first national retailer to take part.

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced the expansion of the Department's national campaign to hundreds of Walmart stores, saying the partnership will help the American public play an active role in ensuring the safety and security of the nation.

"Homeland security starts with hometown security, and each of us plays a critical role in keeping our country and communities safe," said Secretary Napolitano. "I applaud Walmart for joining the 'If You See Something, Say Something' campaign. This partnership will help millions of shoppers across the nation identify and report indicators of terrorism, crime and other threats to law enforcement authorities."

For its part, Walmart said in a statement that it's proud to be the first national retailer to partner with Homeland Security. But there are some who find the idea confusing or even downright frightening.

Already, more than 230 Walmart stores are playing the short video message from Secretary Napolitano (see above), near check-out lanes, asking shoppers to report suspicious activity to local authorities. The program will be expanded to a total of 588 Walmart stores in the next few weeks.

I've lived briefly in Israel, a country that combats terrorism on its streets daily. Reporting suspicious packages or activity is commonplace, and life saving. Sure, it's inconvenient; you can never ask someone at the bus station to watch your bag and sometimes an innocuous bag of groceries is destroyed because someone simply forgot it on a park bench. For the most part, however it's an accepted part of daily life.

Why then, does this effort strike so many as slightly off? Is it just because Walmart is often so reviled or the people at Walmart the butt of many jokes? Walmart is the largest retailer, company and private employer in United States. Educating the people who come through its doors each day seems to make sense.

Or does it?

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