Today’s New York Times business section carries an unusual story “Playmobil Finds Fun in the Police State” about a security check point toy that is causing some dismay among parents as being unsettling and too lifelike.  Perhaps this opinion comes as no surprise on a blog dedicated to security, but such controversy over a rather trivial toy is a troubling barometer that our society is still far from prepared for the next terrorist attack.

Security measures should be baked into our every day lives and not viewed as an exception, but rather a course of routine and a small price to pay, indeed even an investment, in the resiliency of the nation.

That reactions from parents about a Playmobil check point toy would even warrant an article in the New York Times points out how far the country still has to go in being prepared for the next terrorist attack.  This is partly the fault of government which missed a historic opportunity after 9/11 to ask for sacrifices from the citizenry, and partly the fault of Americans themselves who have become overly indulgent in the excesses that helped spur this economic crisis and, frankly lazy, long ago forgetting the lessons learned from that fateful, history changing event.

The country remains harrowingly unprepared for the next attack (or natural disaster, accident or infrastructure collapse for that matter).  As most security experts will tell you, the next incident isn’t a matter of “if” but “when” and “degree.”  We need to regain our sense of urgency.

Perhaps such inferences seem silly from an article about a toddler’s toy, but it’s frightening when surveying the landscape of the federal government’s continued lack of action (for example, the presidential election was more than three months ago and the role of homeland security advisor on the National Security Council remains unresolved or the surreal fact of how far the CBP still has to go in complying with the Congressional 100% container screening mandate) or Americans’ relative disinterest in securing the country.

In the 7 1/2 years since 9/11, we’ve gone shopping as we’ve been told to do, and as a nation, remain dangerously complacent and vulnerable.

Note to President Obama, General Jones and Secretary Napolitano, while your plates are obviously full with the economic meltdown, two ongoing wars, and a host of other issues, regarding the urgent priority of securing the homeland, we desperately need leadership.  The sooner the better.