How much fear would you say is the appropriate amount to take with you in your head as you go about your day-to-day activities?
I ask this question as I read news today that one angry al-Qaeda man in Pakistan sent a message to another angry al-Qaeda man in Yemen saying that the Yemen man should gather his friends together and attack something.
As a result, and the usual “abundance of caution” of the sort that apparently went missing in Benghazi a while back, the O. Administration has ordered 19 embassies closed and advised Americans to get out of Yemen.
I am not suggesting that angry al-Qaeda men are not really plotting some violent act. However, I would suggest that such men often if not always are plotting something similar. And I must wonder at how quickly this new official American fear alert arrived on the heels of revelations that American government spies essentially are probing all of us peasants and our every communication on a daily basis.
Surely we should not mind the dismembering of just a few of our constitutional rights if the results keep us safer from angry men in beards, am I right? The cost of living in a free society inevitably must be your freedoms, one supposes.
Here’s just one of many things that gets me about this Be Afraid of Terrorists soup that the government so readily doles out:
In the 10 years from 2001 through 2010, the number of Americans killed by what are classified as acts of terror totaled 3,059, according to this compilation at infoplease.com. That averages out to 306 deaths by terror per year, and it’s worth noting that other than the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, many of the deaths were to U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan or elsewhere in the Mideast.
During the same period of time, 402,589 Americans were killed on American soil by vehicles, or during vehicle crashes, according to this report. That averages out to 40,259 American deaths each year.
Compared to 40,259, 306 is a pretty insignificant number.
We now have a Department of Homeland Security, are regularly roughed up and probed at the airports, have our phone and Internet communications monitored by spooks, operate a secret court that issues secret orders that secretly make it “legal” for the spooks to apparently do what they please Constitution notwithstanding, and recently we learned that the spooks feed the federal Drug Enforcement Agency secret tips on Americans who allegedly are committing criminal acts, and then the DEA secretly feeds bits of that information to police agencies around the country, and then the investigations are “sanitized” so that whatever peasant happens to be arrested is not made aware of how he or she came to be arrested.
All of this emanates, directly or indirectly, from a government policy of keeping the American peasantry afraid of “terrorists,” whatever that word really means, and of the possibility of becoming one of 306 (out of several hundred million) Americans to be killed worldwide by “terrorist acts.” Someone pointed out one time that you have a greater risk of being killed by your own furniture.
Meanwhile, the government is apparently quite content to allow us all to feel safe as we careen around the roadways spewing fossil fuel in vehicles that will kill or cause more than 40,000 of us to die this year. Not so much as a suggestion to lower the speed limits.
Or is it just me?