Eyes Open

As West Virginia University prepares for its first home football game of the season Saturday, it has also become the first organization in the state to implement the “if you see something, say something” campaign that was adopted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security after the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

Better late than never for this important – and simple – effort to remind people to keep their eyes open and use a little common sense. The timing coincides with news from the West Virginia Fusion Intelligence Center that information they receive indicates the activities of the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq may be closer to the Mountain State than we imagined.

“There are areas in the United States that are not too far from here, that have very large populations that are being recruited for ISIS right now,” said Director Thomas Kirk. “There are people associated with al-Qaida, there are people on the Terrorist Watch List, that do travel through West Virginia, whether it’s through the airports or through the roads.”

Of course, University Police Chief Bob Roberts was quick to point out the launch of “if you see something, say something” is not because officials have any reason to believe the campus is a target.

Efforts to raise public awareness of the responsibility we all hold to each other are simply a result of the changed world in which we have been living for many years now.

Kirk said the Fusion Center is seeing a similar pattern from ISIS to that of Osama bin Laden’s video taunts to the West. In fact, he said ISIS may even be better organized than bin Laden was. Steps like the one taken by WVU are vital as we continue to face such a threat.

Relax, have fun and enjoy the weekend. But whether you are attending the game in Morgantown or taking the bus to the grocery store, it bears repeating – If you see something, say something.