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The anthrax attacks in the year 2001 brought great fear to the people of the United States considering the sophisticated manner in which the attacks were being done. The anthrax attacks began few weeks after the September 11 attacks in a series of sustained attacks from al Qaeda the leading terror group that planned and executed these attacks to the people of United States. Letters that were packed with anthrax spores were mailed to seniors public officials killing atleast five people and infecting others in the process. The investigation of the origin of the anthrax linked envelops created a most complex investigation, which the federal bureau of investigation had not witnessed throughout its operational years. The 2001 anthrax communication campaign was aimed at creating awareness of the significant impact of anthrax and encouraged the public to remain conscious since theorigin of the letters was linked to terror although the origin had remained a mystery. This paper integrates available information regarding the anthrax in the United States in 2001 to develop communication tactics that were employed by the United States administration in creating public awareness about the possible anthrax attacks across the United States. This paper employs a number of key considerations in developing a better understanding on the 2001 anthrax communication campaign throughout the United States. The key objectives of the paper is to create a better environment in ensuring that the United States public effective understand the various the anthrax attacks and benefits of effective adhering to the preventive measures in preventing the severity of the attacks.
United States has been always a major target for terror attacks mainly due to its string stance against terrorism and its ideology. Different types of attacks have been developed within the United States over the years even though the crucial counter terrorism measures have been put in place to ensure that these attacks are controlled. The overall impact on the development of the United States has been significantly hindered by significant focus on terror and related actions. In early 2000s, United States came under a very high period sustained with different forms of terror attacks that created intense fear among the United States, which was one of the objectives of the terror groups in limiting the freedom of the United States citizens, and ensure that they kill as many as possible(Sweeney, Hicks, Cui, Li, & Eichacker, 2011).
It is the duty of the federal government to develop a better plan to protect its citizens from any possible risks that they are likely to encounter. The best way this can be effectively undertaken would be to ensure that there is a well-developed risk communication plan that can be sued to reach out to the diverse population across different states. Communication during a disaster period is crucial in creating a better engagement within a social perspective where there a greater need to communicate clear on the existing issues within the society. The manner in which risk communication plan is developed plays a key role in ensuring that the information relayed is understood or not(Liu, Moayeri, & Leppla, 2014). Risk communication plan are usually developed differently depending on how fast the information is expected to reach out to a larger population. The mode of communication thus plays an influential role in the overall development of an effective risk communication plan.
There is always difference in the manner in which information is shared during the time of need and under normal situations. Risk communication therefore entails communication of key information in real time with a key objective of limiting the overall influence of the risk that is being communicated. Risks involve anything that might have undesirable impact when it is not controlled in real time. Risk communication seeks to develop a greater focus on the underlying issue that is likely to have negative influence on the wellbeing of individual who are the target in this case. Communicating effective is likely to reduce the impact and ensure that members of the society adopt preventive strategies as well as ensuring that those who are already infected have a better environment where they can be quarantined(Joshi, Cymet, Kerkvliet, & Cymet, 2004).
Risk communication encompasses different technique although the most important aspect to consider in this case is to ensure that any of the approach that is taken in developing communication is well understood by the target population. The most comprehensive method that can reach many people who are being targeted is used to ensure that the information reaches many people as possible within the shortest time possible. Therefore there is need to create a greater focus on the target population when developing a risk communication plan.
The 2001 anthrax communication campaign sought to create a public awareness of the anthrax attacks and the fact that the origin of the attacks remained unknown, it created a very difficult environment under which it was considered possible to have any control over the attacks. The attacks were random across the United States that made it very difficult to develop a clear prevention strategy. The letters that were emailed containing the anthrax spores were randomly distributed and thus the public was being advised against opening their letter as well as engaging the postal service employees in being highly focused when handling emails. Many of the postal service employees died in the process while a significant number of them were infected(Hwang, 2010).
In the course of the campaign, the federal administration realized the severity of anthrax where United States citizens in other parts of the world were detected. One case was reported in Nairobi Kenya when one letter sent from Atlanta in United Statesto private citizens was found to have the anthrax spores. The complexity of the anthrax attacks made it very difficult to have a specific target population who were being targeted although there was also a case reported in the white house targeting President Bush. The fact that it was difficult to understand the origin of the attacks made the campaign more open and focused on limiting the number of attacks across the country(Duarte-Cubides & Cala-Rosas, 2012).
During this time, the United States was under heavy terror attack and thus the assumption that the anthrax attacks were terror linked was made despite no clear connection between the anthrax attacks and the terror attacks. During this time, there was a significant propaganda which was spread across the world which aimed at exaggerating the level of anthrax reports in the united states with some reports indicated that white house was under attack. Key measures were put in place in creating a critical environment under which it was much easy and possible to develop a greater understanding on the attacks and their extent as well as developing key measures. These measures would be put into consideration in creating a better environment under which it would be possible to develop a clear engagement and focus regarding the anthrax attacks(Sweeney et al., 2011).
United States has always maintained a strong stance regarding terror and its ideology. It is not part of the larger network of terror sympathizers and the key strategy that is aimed at controlling terror attacks as well as funding anti terror campaigns. The anthrax attack communication campaign was developed in response to the increasing new form of attacks across the United States. The anthrax attacks was a form of bioterrorism, which was effectively, developed targeting citizens of the United States. The federal administration developed this campaign in focus to reduce the increasing attacks to the United States citizens using a unique form of terror attack that had not been witnessed. It was very difficult to control the overall impact of the attacks since the origin of the disease could not be traced by United States intelligence and counter terrorism agencies(Duarte-Cubides & Cala-Rosas, 2012). It focused on the entire United States population as well global perspective considering the fact that this was a new and a unique type of attack, which attracted a greater global attention, and thus different stakeholders were engaged in trying find a solution to this complex form of attack that was being implemented by unknown sources.
The investigations linked the anthrax attacks to three major sites, which included America Media Incorporation, the NBC news in New York and Senator Daschle’s office in Washington. DNA analysis that was conducted was able to show that the same strain of anthrax was sent to New York and Florida sites. This analysis confirmed that the anthrax strains that were being spread had been developed from the same source even though the source remained largely unknown. The letters that were sent to NBCnews anchor and senator Daschle were similar indicating that there were specific targets although there was no limit to the number of people that would have been affected by the spread of the anthrax strain. The development of this campaign aimed at creating a crucial focus on the underlying key issues within societal environment under which it would be possible to develop a crucial understanding on the overall environment under which it would be effectively applied(Ellis, 2014).
The letters that contained the anthrax strain were included together with a letter that sought to send some form of warning to the United States indicating the death of United States as well as its ally Israel. The attacks caused high emotional scare within the United States since it was very difficult to pinpoint an individual as the course under where the mails were coming from at the time. It created a heightened tension within the united and across the world in the manner; the attacks were being carried out with high level of anonymity. The United States security and intelligence forces remained puzzled by a new tactic that was effectively developed to create a very difficult operational environment. The social, economic and political tension that was cultivated at the time was very huge leading to significant losses to the United States economy(Goel, 2015).
The attacks were developed using an anthrax strain known as Ames. Ames strain was a common anthrax strain that had been initially been isolated for a cow in Texas in 1981. Anthrax is a highlyinfectious and a deadly infection, which is more likely to cause death. There exists no specific scientific evidence that asserts that anthrax can be transmitted from one person to another although it highly contagious through direct contact. The anthrax bacteria usually enters the body through bacterial infection in a wound on the skin. Anthrax can also be spread through the inhalation of the spores like the ones that were being spread during the anthrax attack in 2001. The inhalation anthrax also referred to as pulmonary anthrax develops when an individual breathe in the anthrax spores and it is the easiest and the deadly way to contract anthrax(Ellis, 2014). Considering the effectiveness of inhalation anthrax the developers of the letters used this type of anthrax in order to ensure that many people would be killed in the process. It is considered fatal even when an individual is treated which explains how strong it is. The initial symptoms include flu like symptoms, mild chest patients, and shortness of breath coughing blood. As the disease progress, a patient develops stronger symptoms such as meningitis that is a life threatening condition since it causes inflammation of the brain and spinal cord. Despite the fact that it is deadly in animals, the anthrax strain is also very dangerous to individuals especially when it is inhaled through anthrax spores.
Trouble in breathing is another serious complication of anthrax. An individual who is infected tends to have a very limited breathing space that can lead to heart attack. It is a more complicated symptom and can lead to sudden death. The reason why anthrax attacks was considered very dangerous was the fact that it was inhaled directly at close range. The perpetrators knew that putting the anthrax strain in sealed envelopes would be opened closer to the nose that would lead to high level of inhalation that increased the chances of death than any other approach that would have been incorporated(Joshi et al., 2004). The chances of detection at early stages is not common since most people would dismiss it as a common flu without knowing exactly the extent to which they are being destroyed internally. Few people are able to survive after developing anthrax complications such as meningitis since they create a reduced breathing space and functionality of the rain where key processes are limited. Even though there are treatment measures in place, any individual who is infected with anthrax needs to seek medical attention much earlier before the symptoms lead to crucial complications that are likely to be fatal.
The anthrax attacks signaled significant focus on bioterrorism and thus it is important to put into focus that the chances of bioterrorismare real and are likely to happen.Before a solution to the problem can be found, there is need to ensure that there is a greater focus on key elements which need to be considered through effective risk communication. The anthrax attack communication campaign is valid. Creating awareness of a possible attack is likely to create a better environment under which it would be possible to ensure that citizens understand key measures they need to take during a crisis period in order to ensure that there are less individuals who are influenced by a disaster that is likely to happen(Goel, 2015).
Public awareness about safe methods to handles issues during the time of emergence is crucial and creates a key environment where society members can have the desired knowledge on how to respond to any other emergency situation that are likely to take place. This should be effective considered especially during the current times when there is an increased sophistication in the war methods where enemies can unleash terror on the country. This means that there is a key need to ensures that the awareness campaigns is take to a higher level where there is a positive interaction between all stakeholders involved. Fighting terrorism requires critical focus on key underlying development among the terror groups(Pace, Steigelman, Norton, & Krivda, 2013). This means that it is a war that can only be won where there significant interaction and association between major stakeholders which include the administration and the citizens. The need to have a greater engagement and focus within the social environment should be developed based on key and crucial measures.
The development of anthrax campaign is strategically developed not only focusing on anthrax attacks but a general method which can be effectively employed by citizens to ensure that there is limited impact of such risks. Risks within the society must be controlled in creating a suitable environment where a better prevention strategy can be incorporated. It is important to primarily focus on reducing the severity of a given risk before a prevention strategy can be implemented. Citizens need to be cautious and take into serious consideration all the key processes that are needed in creating an effective focus on the key underlying risks within social environment(Duarte-Cubides & Cala-Rosas, 2012).
The government has the sole responsibility of ensuring that its citizens are safe and feel comfortable within their respective social environment. This means that it is the government duty to ensure that they inform the entire public about an impending danger that is likely to be detrimental to their lives and thus should take precautionary measures to prevent the spread of a specific risk. Therefore, the development of the 2001 anthrax attack communication campaign was a strategic move by the government is playing one of its role in informing the public about the anthrax attack and the fact that they are highly targeted hence should take caution regarding how they interact and socialize with and risks involved in opening envelopes(Sweeney et al., 2011). An issue of public interest must be addressed promptly so that the number of victims can be significantly reduced. The purpose of any campaign is to raise awareness where people can control themselves based on the information that is passed through the campaign process. Improving the lives of citizens is not necessarily providing food and shelter but as a government, it is key to also protect the citizens who entrust their lives with the public security agencies that have the mandate of investigating such issues and advices the public on the best course of action.
The 2001 anthrax attacks public campaign was a very strategic move implemented by the federal government through state department at a very tough time when the country was still mourning those who perished in September 11 attacks. The anthrax attacks began just weeks after September 11 and it was viewed as a well-coordinated move that sought to bring United States on its knees. Therefore, the campaign was strategically developed to encourage United States to stay together and have a greater focus on what was going on and how these issues would be solved effectively. It sought to create awareness of the attacks and possible attacks of similar nature targeting United States citizens. This awareness plan sought to create a well-engaged system and improve public understanding about the reality of the anthrax attacks and how they could protect themselves(Liu et al., 2014).
Communication is crucial during crisis periods and thus there is need to ensure better measures are put in place in creating a proper environment where better decisions can be made regarding emergency intervention. The message, target audience and mode of delivery are crucial aspects that need to be put into consideration in creating an effective environment where key decisions can be made within emergencies. The sensitivity of the message that is delivered is crucial in ensuring that it is well received. The management of information and communication system need to consider key elements in ensuring that the whole process is successful.
Leadership style that is applied within any given environment is crucial in ensuring that the message that is being communicated is successfully delivered. The leadership in this case outlines the target audience and the overall underlying strategy that will be integrated in ensuring that the communication plan is successful. Campaign need to be managed by a very able leader who will ensure that the purpose of the campaign is achieved. There is need to ensure that the selected team to run the campaign understand the basics and what needs to be developed in ensuring that there is successful engagement. The communication of the 2001 anthrax attack was made by sole command center that integrated both the center for disease control and prevention and the federal administration(Adalja, 2012). This was aimed at creating a better environment where it was key in ensuring that they provide joint statements regarding the anthrax strain that was being used by the perpetrators as well as the major strategies that need to be considered in creating an improved engagement within the entire target population.
The 2001 anthrax communication campaign was based on crucial focus on the key elements at the time although there are issues, which were not effective managed by all the stakeholders that were involved in handling the campaign and how it spurned out. The strengths of the campaign included strategic focus and direct engagement with the target population and ensuring that they are aware of the existing risks and ensure that they put in place protective strategies that aimed at improving the overall focus under which it was possible to have a greater engagement(Hwang, 2010).
The weakness that existed in the campaign was the fact that there were no clear statements regarding the spread or the specific region under which the risks were high. The lack of timeline on the campaign regarding the spread and the origin of the attacks created significant fear and tension since it did not create a greater focus where it would be possible to have a specific focus(Clarke & Chess, 2006).
Risk communication is specifically engaged in creating a greater focus within the society since it aims at limiting the overall environment under which risks can be averted. The 2001 anthrax communication campaign was very specific and focused on creating a greater focus within the society regarding the extent at which bioterrorism can be used to destroy the peaceful coexistence among people within the country. The campaign did not only focus on the United States but created a global awareness regarding anthrax attacks and their impact to humanity. The success of any risk communication plan depends on how it is implemented. The 2001 anthrax attacks campaign was effective in providing a greater focus on the underlying social interactions among citizens.
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