Mass Hysteria

“Where are we going, and why are we in this handbasket?” I’ll leave the quote unattributed since it’s so popular that i can’t seem to find the origin. That said, it sure does sum up our current situation with regard to terrorists, most particularly our reaction to the Boston Marathon bombing in which three spectators died.

So what did we do in reaction to those three deaths? First, we locked down Boston and halted air, rail, and bus transportation out of the city while a manhunt for the bombers was underway. We maintained the lockdown after one of the bombers had been killed in a shootout with the police and the other had escaped, wounded and on foot.

People, people. What is it about bombs that has us so, well, terrified? Londoners endured years of IRA bombings with a stiff upper lip, just as blasé Israelis gathered in cafes next door to the rubble from bombings the previous day. Are they that much braver than we are? Do we not understand that we empower terrorists by our grotesque overreaction?

We pour billions of dollars into Homeland Security, our local police forces are equipped with tanks, our skies are filled with drones, our citizens’ email and telephone conversations are monitored, cameras record our every move. We stop at nothing to create the impression that we are protecting our populace, even as we whittle away at their liberties.

We go ballistic over three bomb deaths in Boston while about 80 people are shot to death every day in this country and 95 die daily in auto accidents. Have we no sense of perspective? Wouldn’t we have thought, ho hum, just another shooting if the Tsarnaev brothers had simply shot four people?

Yes, there are perils. And yes, we should try to defend against them, but at some point all common sense suggests that we step back and face reality with a crumb of bravery. Absolute security is an impossible goal, and if two bombers can turn us into a nation of frightened sheep, the terrorists have won.

Meanwhile, a recent fire escape shot that i was able to sneak past the guards.

Fire escape graffiti

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