Press "Enter" to skip to content

Posts published in “Day: December 11, 2015”

First take/fear fear

No big surprise: A New York Times/CBS News poll taken in recent days finds 44% of Americans say a terrorist attack is “very likely” to happen in the next few months.

Depending on how you define your terms, that may be a safe prediction. Increasingly, there are calls (variously from left and right) for defining any mass shooting, as at San Bernardino and Colorado Springs, as a terrorist incident. In that case, the 44% are almost surely right, since mass shootings have been happening a lot faster than that.

But maybe we ought to get rid of the word "terrorist" altogether and call these murder sprees what else they are: murder. Crimes, not an ideological statement or an expression of war.

Murder can be frightening enough when you're brought face to face with it, or personally face the threat. But "terrorism" connotes a sense of impersonal pinpointing that really does scare a lot of people.

Which is just fine if you're a political figure like Donald Trump, who feeds off fear, or any number of other interests that have something direct to gain from it. But this country does not benefit, nor do the people in it, from being perpetually fearful. Alert and prepared to act, yes. But fearful, no. Those who consider themselves loyal Americans but who stoke the fear - and the fear is rising as it is deliberately stoked, not just by perpetrators but by those who exploit as well - should be ashamed, and reconsider if they have any right to call themselves loyal Americans.

And if you need a convincer about that, consider what it is that "terrorists" are trying to accomplish with their acts. Their intent is right there in that noun. Why are so many purportedly patriotic Americans so eager to help them in their quest? - rs (photo)