Monday, September 17, 2007

JMO - When fear becomes the norm

I was listening to NPR's Morning Edition this morning and the number of stories on fear is a wonder. It's not that politicians are selling fear, as we have seen since 9/11, but they're enforcing fear into our everyday lives. And it raises the question, when does fear become the norm?

We all know the reality of the airline and airport security, and we all realize it's about as efficient and effective as the proveb about, "(something)... on a boar." I haven't seen any terrorist be caught, indicted and convicted from airport screening for all the things we used to normally carry on airlines. It's always been my view that we forgot we're looking for sharp, shiny needles in a haystack in a field of haystacks, and you don't have to examine every piece of straw.

They, meaning our President and his appointees in the White House and Federal agencies, have long tried to convince us it's about terrorism, when in reality it's about power and control, and the simple fact Bush, etal doesn't trust us. Yet, all the terrorists were foreigners, not citizens. We have become the enemy in their eyes and they sold us it's ok to oppress us in the name of the fight against us.

Anyway, the story about terrorist trials in Europe is interesting. They're using ethinic profiling, especially converted Muslims, to arrest three to four times the number of suspects to simply gathter more inforation than actually prosecute anyone. Somehow I don't see that it's any different here in the US because everything is secret under of the Patriot Acts. We simply don't know but I don't doubt it from what little has been published in the media.

The other is about Internet safety with children. While the best remedy is education and helping children understand and be open to talking with responsible adults they trust, some are advocating laws mandating the Internet companies ensure the identity of every adult and every children's parent. What don't they know about the reality of the Internet and databases?

I realize these are simply two small stories in the vastness of stories, but it also seems the tip of the iceberg. Everything anyone fears anymore can be made into fear for everyone and there are zealots for every cause. We've seen how easy it is to sell to legislators and Congressional representatives in the name of fight terrorism or something evil. So what happened to fighting drugs, fighting crime, reducing poverty, providing minimum health care, protecting the environment, improving our national infrastructure, and on and on?

Have we given up on those because we fear terrorsim more? Or are we simply adding it to the top of the list, and eventually fear will be the foremost thing in the news and in our schools? And all the rest will take a back seat in programs and funding, until more Interstate bridges collapse into rivers?

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