Words of Advice:

"If Something Seems To Be Too Good To Be True, It's Best To Shoot It, Just In Case." -- Fiona Glenanne

"Flying the Airplane is More Important than Radioing Your Plight to a Person on the Ground
Who is Incapable of Understanding or Doing Anything About It." -- Unknown

“Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level
and then beat you with experience.” -- Mark Twain

"Stay Strapped or Get Clapped." -- probably not Mr. Rogers

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Grow Up, America

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration reported that in 2008, 37,261 people were killed by motor vehicles, 2,346,000 people were injured by vehicles. There were over 5,800,000 motor vehicle crashes reported to the police.

The CDC reports that in 2005, 3,582 people drowned and another 710 died in boating accidents
. Drowning kills nearly 30% of children under the age of five who die before they reach their fifth birthday. The leading cause of accidental death of such young children is death by scalding. Supposedly more children die in swimming pools than are shot to death.

There were about 17,000 murders in 2007.

I mention the foregoing for a reason. We live with the fact that car crashes occur, that children die in horrible accidents and that people will seek to kill each other. Most of us live out our lives around the carnage.

Yet terrorism is different. Somehow, and in no small measure to the fear-mongering of the Right (especially the last vice-president, Dick the Torturer), the Federal government is supposed to prevent all terrorist plots from coming to fruition. This is the same government that the fear-mongers routinely deride as wholly incompetent, yet the same people who think the government is completely inept somehow expect the Feds to be omnipotent when it comes to stopping terrorism.

Americans need to grow up and get a grip. The Luftwaffe sent over wave after wave of bombers in 1940 in order to pound the British into submission, the British did not buckle. Yet al Qaeda sends one guy with exploding underwear (who only manages to burn off his own nuts) and the whole country goes into a tizzy.

Let us take a page from the British as they struggled to live through the Blitz:

We are in situation, now, where there is a group of nutjobs who are determined to carry out terroristic attacks against us. No matter how diligent our security is, they will, from time to time, succeed. We have to keep our heads about us.

We have to grow up and stop basing our security protocols on crap that would barely cut it as a basic-cable movie plot. It is past insanity to take our cues from a goddamn television show, but that is what our last president and his administration did. We have to quit the fascination with the wholly-unlikely ticking time-bomb scenario. This isn't some damn third-rate technothriller.

We need to start acting like mature adults. We need to deal with security through measures that make sense and stop with the stupid security theater that the TSA and the cops are so fond of. And, most of all, we have to pour large doses of STFU down the throats of the partisan fearmongers.

Terrorism is a tactic. It is a fact of life in the age we live in. Let's get on with it, let's deal with it, and let's stop living in pants-wetting fear.


Holte Ender said...

YES, YES, YES. You got it right.

One Fly said...

I raise Holte a YES.

Marc said...

It would help if the media people didn't hype it like they do - you know, frame it as: "A failed attempt to sterilize himself with fire, caused concern on NW flight...", and not: "OMG! Were Gonna Die!!!111!".

Yes, get a grip - we're all going to die - it's our choice to be afraid for or to be proud of our lives.

Anonymous said...

It's not the federal government people expect to save them from terrorism, it's the military-industrial complex. Which is ironic, because the standard definition of terrorism is the use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims.

But aside from torture, the "shock and awe" bombing of civilians (beginning in Japan with nukes), stealth bombers, drones, threat level color coding, pointless airport security and the occasional unprovoked invasion of sovereign nations, our kinder, gentler Christian nation doesn't do terrorism.

Comrade Misfit said...

Falconerhk, I refer you to the Rape of Nanking. The Japanese Empire deserved all that it received.

Grandpa Eddie said...

Excellent post!
Should be required reading for everyone.....well, we'll draw pictures for the right-wingers and their followers.

Gordon said...

I have read The Rape Of Nanking by the late Iris Chang and I agree the Japanese got what was coming to them in WWII, but the 'shock and awe' terror tactic of aerial bombing of civilians hardly started with Hiroshima.

It was even used in the Tulsa race riot of 1921 against Americans by Americans.

J@ne Futzinfarb said...

Yes, indeedy, those schoolchildren in Hiroshima got the vaporization that was coming to them for their utter complicity in the rape of Nanking.

Comrade Misfit said...

War is a harsh business and I am continually amazed by the number of people who seem to think otherwise. If a nation bombs other people's cities, they have no cause to complain when their enemies bomb theirs.

JoeB said...

"Drowning kills nearly 30% of children under the age of five."

Really?? Can we have a fact check in aisle three, please?

Comrade Misfit said...

Joe B, you are correct and I have reworded it.

I appreciate the catch

Cujo359 said...

Perhaps thanks to the cleanup on aisle three, I wholeheartedly agree. I keep imagining that AQ and their followers just love how even their most half-assed attempts at terrorism prompt new rounds of silly security rituals and fresh panic in our news.

We can either live in fear or we can live. I'd like to do the latter. I wish more of my countrymen felt the same way.

J@ne Futzinfarb said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
J@ne Futzinfarb said...

Comrade EB: I couldn't agree with you more about "harsh business" and "cause to complain". Why I just see red when I think about the nerve of those Japanese grandmothers whimpering over their radiation burns!

J@ne Futzinfarb said...

A funny thing happened after my earlier comments to this post, and, well, it got me thinking. I ran across a quote the other day that I hadn’t seen before – “war is hell”. And then I thought maybe a big part of that hell is because war so invariably causes great suffering to so many who least deserve it. And then I thought of a slightly nuanced recognition that even though waging war may sometimes be the lesser of two evils, yet I might retain empathy for those who suffered simply because by chance of birth they were on the wrong side. And then I thought that empathy might manifest in me by my not evincing smugness over the inevitable suffering that my country must surely have caused in defeating its wartime enemies. And then I thought …..naaahh! Nips got what they had coming.

Comrade Misfit said...

Jane, what point are you trying to make? That war is a bad business and civilians suffer?

When has it not been so?

J@ne Futzinfarb said...

Comrade EB - I apologize for my comments. Feel free to yank them from your blog if it would make you feel better. I got sent over here with a link from one of the other blogs I read regularly - was it onegoodmove? I had never seen your blog before and quite frankly I wholeheartedly agree with the position you are take in this post. In fact, if you visited my blog, you'd find a strikingly similar post from June 2008. When I read through the comments, that sentiment about the Japanese getting what they deserved just really got under my skin and I didn't respond very maturely. As a veteran, I really do believe war is hell, and that most of the suffering it causes is for those who least deserve it. I also think that many people rationalize that away in various ways, one of which is demonizing the inhabitants of an entire nation. If that rationalization contributes even a little to our propensity to wage war when unnecessary, or to engage in strategies and tactics that cause more suffering than necessary, I don't think they should be encouraged. Again, I apologize for not making that point very well.

Comrade Misfit said...

Jane, there is nothing wrong with your comments. If anything, I have a personal/family reason for my feelings about the use of atomic weapons against Japan and it probably colors my views.