Thursday, August 31, 2006

Fear

SO now a couple of weeks have gone by, and the details of the "terrorist" attack are starting to come out, and surprise surprise, it was a bunch of hype for nothing. Of all the people arrested, only half have been charged with anything, five have already been released, and authorities are unconvinced that they were even capable of actually accomplishing, and the "ten planes" was complete and utter speculation.

Total evidence found (no, I'm not making this up):


  • a plastic bin filled with liquid
  • batteries
  • less than a dozen empty drink bottles
  • rubber gloves
  • digital scales
  • a disposable camera
  • some suicide vidoes
  • a copy of a book called "Defense of the Muslim Lands"
  • a last will of testament


    That this sorry collection of crap was able to throw everyone into such a panic shows the depths of the irrational fear that has permeated everyone. Now for a little perspective.

    Americans killed by terrorist attacks invoving aircraft since Sep 11, 2001: 3,300 (estimated).

    Average American deaths per year by


  • suicide - 30,000
  • incidents involving firearms - 29,000
  • car accidents - 26,347
  • toxic agents - 55,000
  • microbial agents - 75,000
  • alcohol - 85,000
  • poor diet and obesity - 365,000
  • tobacco - 435,000


    Every time we overreact, the terrorists win. Every time they say "jump" and we launch ourselves into orbit with panic, the terrorists win. Every time we allow ourselves to forget the real issues of our society - poverty, unemployment, lack of education, lack of adequate health care, racism, violent crime and a zillion other things that actually affect us each and every day, because we are driven into a panic by some implausible threat that has essentially zero probability of ever affecting us, the politicians exploiting our fears win.

    Right now they have power over us, and the only way to take that power away from them is to stop being afraid.

    NYTimes article on British "terror" suspects - linky
    previous post showing the etymology of those statistics - linky
    wired.com article with some examples of how stupid we have become - linky
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