Every year the Department of Homeland Security distributes funds to local government entities to help prevent terrorism and every year it makes some outlandish (but politically correct) grants to locations that are unlikely to attract any right-minded terrorist.
Clearly New York, Boston, and Washington have been targets of terrorist attacks and the local defenses need to be shored up, but the grant-makers also have other, and more exotic, ideas.
My candidate for the strangest grant of the year is the $305,747 awarded to the Aleut Community of St. Paul Island, Alaska. Now there are places in Alaska, as Sarah Palin has instructed us, from which you can see Russia, and Russia is a worrisome state.
But you can't see Russia from St. Paul. As a matter of fact, if you examine a map, you will find it is about 280 miles off the Mainland of Alaska, and about 500 miles from the nearest part of Russia. One of the Pribilof Islands, it is a cold outpost in the Bering Sea with fishing and fish processing being the main economic activities.
It is also about as unattractive to would-be tourists as it is to would-be terrorists; and even the indigenous people are leaving; the population was 491 in 2012, and that was down 7.7 percent from 2000. So, with a population of 491, the grant came to $633 for each resident of St. Paul, perhaps a per-capita record of some kind.
Every year the Homeland Security Grant Program distributes $10,000,000 to tribal governments as shown in this DHS press release. This year the largest grant ($1,514,206) went to Arizona's Pascua Yaqui tribe, which has a tiny (by Western standards) reservation of less than 1,000 acres near Tucson. The tribe also has members in Mexico, and also has been given by DHS the unusual privilege of issuing its own passport-type documents for its own members.
As a matter of fact, Arizona, home of the just-retired DHS Secretary, has about 6 percent of the native American population, but got more than 46 percent of the Homeland Security Grant Program grants this year, with eight tribes collecting a total of $4,625,257.
The grants, according to DHS, are for "eligible tribal nations to implement preparedness initiatives to help strengthen the nation against risk associated with potential terrorist attacks and other hazards." The specific programs of the tribes are not described by DHS.
It is nice to know that, this time around, as opposed to the French and Indian War, the Revolution, and the War of 1812, the tribes are on our side.