Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Making terrorism work

We can't defeat terrorism. We need to realize that saying we can defeat "terror" is like saying we can defeat "aerial assault" or "moroseness." It's a tactic and a reactive emotion, not an enemy.

But our 24/7 news cycle, and our partisan politics certainly make terrorism effective.

Why not use terror against the USA? It's incredibly effective.

Just look at the news since the "Christmas bomb scare" on Flight 253. Since then the news media has been incessantly pressuring politicians on even more invasive security measures to prevent this again. I've said it before, but the risk of being killed by a terrorist is incredibly small, far smaller than being killed on a bicycle, accidental poisoning, or drowning. It's simply a sensationalist way to die, and the media loves sensationalist stories, so we hear all about them.

Yes, we should minimize risk where we can, but we shouldn't go over board. At some point the costs outweigh the benefits.

The best way to minimize our losses? Make terrorism ineffective.

Terrorism is effective because one person can gather the attention of the whole government, and of the whole population. One person can terrify us, and cause us to cede our values.

To make terrorism ineffective, we can't let one attack change our values, and our way of life. We have to show terrorists that their tactics don't work on us, and make them change their tactics. Will they still try? Probably. But if we let the enemy change our values, we've already lost.

1 comment:

JoeLinux said...

You are right, we can't defeat terror. However, we can take out those that would try to wield it as a tool against us.

I do agree that you are right that the media needs to stop putting terrorist strike attempts on the 6 o'clock news.

The problem is that we humans are curious, and having a free press is a pain in the *ss. But, it's a price we pay. If people would stop tuning into it, they wouldn't report it.

I rarely take advice from entertainment, but there is a quote that I love from Men in Black: "A person is smart. People, however, are dumb, panicky animals."

I agree with your idea that we can't let one terrorist attack change our way of life. I saw a quote on slashdot that was so accurate in that respect: "The mark of a stable country is if there is a shooting at a school, and no new laws are written in reaction."