Monday, July 23, 2012

Another Reason To Be Afraid

The ghost of Osama Bin Laden is a greater existential threat to the United States than the nuclear-armed Soviet Union at the height of its power. I say this because, as a US citizen during the Cold War, I was free to travel within the boundaries of my own country without carrying a de facto internal passport, and without facing the Hobson's choice of molestation or irradiation at the blue-gloved hands of the TSA. Now the land of the free is riddled with internal checkpoints, and the home of the brave spends a disproportionate chunk of its propaganda budget listing sundry reasons its citizens must always be afraid. See something, say something.

Now the Pentagon warns that we in America are in grave danger of IED attacks, according to the Christian Science Monitor:

What is the danger that improvised explosive devices – the sorts of roadside bombs routinely used in Afghanistan, for example – could be used on highway overpasses in the United States?

And could these IED’s be used in combination with a cyber attack – a terrorist who might use, say, a cyber-trigger to detonate a roadside bomb?

As the war in Afghanistan winds down, US military officials are wrestling with these questions – and how to take the lessons they have learned overseas and apply them to defense of the homeland.

Translation: continue the militarization of American police and train them to behave evermore like soldiers occupying a conquered nation, rather than public servants protecting the public they serve.

Which is not to say the Pentagon is wrong. We do face an IED threat, in the sense that it's possible for people here to make and place IEDs. And we face a chlorine gas threat as well -- anybody who owns common household cleansers like bleach and ammonia can whip up a batch anytime they please. (The noisy cicadas outside my home tempt me to try this every day, but I generally abstain after I Think Of The Children who live next door.) City dwellers also face the constant "Die because somebody at a window several stories above you drops something heavy on your head" threat, and anybody living in a home with non-bulletproof glass windows lives with the additional "gunfire or rock going through your window and hits you" threat.

Sooner or later there probably will be IEDs set off in America. And people will be murdered, store clerks robbed and assaulted, women (plus a handful of men) raped, and abused children murdered by their parents or parents' lovers. At least one of those things happened somewhere in this country even as I typed out that last sentence. Evil exists, and innocents suffer as a result. But how many innocents should therefore suffer in the name of preventing evil? How many freedoms lost because of it?

Those abused children I mentioned ... the overwhelming majority of them die in their own homes, and if we installed Orwell-style telescreens therein we could probably cut the murdered-child deathrate by 90 percent. We already have the technology; it's ubiquitous and it's cheap ... but what do you mean, you don't want to do this? Children are dying out there. But you don't care, do you? It doesn't matter how many innocent, photogenic little children get raped to death, so long as you can sit in your living room picking your nose and scratching your itchy genitals without fear of the audience that you, in your narcissism, think wants to watch you if only it gets the chance, right? Or maybe you're even worse; maybe you oppose telescreens because you personally want to murder people at home.

Why else would anyone oppose this? If you've done nothing wrong you have nothing to hide, no reason to fear. Why shouldn't you let total strangers feel you up as a precondition for travel, unless you're smuggling plastic explosive in your underwear? Or in your post-surgical feeding tube? (Disclaimer: Blogger Bob, the propagandist paid to assure his fellow Americans that TSA has never, ever done anything wrong, insists the whole feeding-tube incident never happened. Of course, Blogger Bob also claims there are no children on the no-fly list, and continues to maintain this regardless of how many toddlers find their names on the list each year, so you must decide for yourself how trustworthy a source he makes.) 

Remember, my fellow Americans: even though you say "the land of the free and the home of the brave" when you sing the national anthem, freedom and bravery simply don't fit into the new American paradigm. It's your duty as an American to be very, very afraid, scared enough to abandon your freedom in exchange for empty promises that the government can protect you.



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