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Are we living in fear of terror? What an insipid question. What is terror? It’s extreme fear. So did Meet the Press really ask if we are living in fear of fear? — I think through reduction we could simply say, we are indeed living in fear.
In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, James Taranto tries and fails to compare what he calls a gaffe by the “World’s Greatest Orator,” to the “legitimate rape” comment by former Missouri Representative Todd Akin.
I’ve contemplated writing an article which asks the question, do we need the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)? It rose to the forefront last week when Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano announced she was resigning. Then today I see Charles Kenny at Businessweek wrote (“The Case for Abolishing the DHS“), which as you might imagine grabbed my attention.
With seemingly endless attacks on his character, Edward Snowden (NSA leaker) has unfortunately consumed this story. Even people in the media who complain we are talking about Snowden instead of privacy, like Chris Hayes, are, well, TALKING ABOUT SNOWDEN! And with that, each passing day the media talks less about the NSA (National Security Agency), privacy, and the Fourth Amendment. Soon the story will entirely encompass speculation on Snowden’s guilt, motive and whereabouts. In fact, we are nearly there now.
America is a country that prides itself on bravery and strength, but we have an irrational fear of terrorism in the post-9/11 years. You are more likely to die in a car accident, a fall, or even drown, than die in a terrorist incident. In some cases, many thousands of times more likely. But while we made no rash or illogical decisions regarding automobile deaths, we have done exactly that in response to terrorism. In addition to car accidents, falls and drownings, you are also more likely to be murdered by firearm than murdered by terrorist attack. And while car accidents, falls and drownings are accidents, murder by gun is no accident, and that makes it a good statistic to compare to terrorism.
I want to return to the idea of selective concern for our constitutional rights that I hit on in an earlier post. And I’m going to keep writing about the NSA spying on Americans even if most have already dismissed the story because they assumed it was going on all along.
Americans read about NSA surveillance of internet traffic and data mining of phone records and they responded with a collective “meh.” This blog doesn’t exactly tear it up in the page view department, but my recent posts on NSA Spying have gotten very little traction at all. And that leads me to believe when it comes to the NSA leak story, Americans just don’t give a shit.
Daniel Ellsberg, the former military analyst, says the NSA leak by Edward Snowden is the most important in American history. That’s saying something given Ellsberg himself released the “Pentagon Papers” over 40 years ago, making him arguably the most famous whistle-blower to date.
There’s a simple reason the National Security Agency’s (NSA) data mining of phone records and internet content/traffic will continue unabated — This is how Americans now expect their government to behave. We want to be protected, and so many of us have made peace with it. As long as it’s out of sight, out of mind, there’s no civil liberty concerns.