You can’t call it terror if you’re not afraid of it (reset 2010).

10/9/2010

It was this business about a terror alert for Europe got me to thinking about it. Terror that is, or what passes for terror in the 21st Century.

The woman on Fox said the government said that we need to be “vigilant” in our travels over there. Damn.

There goes my favorite foreign pastime of learning a few slurs in the native tongue then taking a taxi to the roughest part of town for a drunken ruckus with the locals. I guess that wouldn’t be very vigilant at all. Not in these terrifying times.

Our government doesn’t issue these alert things like Cracker Jacks. No siree Bob. In fact, Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg said this one is “a recognition that we think there are reasons to be concerned and that people should be attentive…it is not a recommendation for anybody to change what they do or where they go. It’s simply just to be aware.”

Oh, this crap again. We don’t know who, what, where, when or why. We’re told “don’t do anything different,” but just be “aware.” Be “vigilant.” Be afraid of something you can’t see, hear, touch or smell.

Isn’t that the definition of terror? And isn’t that really the goal of those terrorist bastards? They can’t be stupid enough to think that the West is going to roll over, give up beer and put burqas over our bikini babes to appease them. So they’re going to destroy our mojo one terror alert at a time.

They’re playing us like a fiddle and compliant government security spooks serve as their bow.

Don’t get me wrong. I get it’s real and hope our government is putting in lots of overtime to stop, catch or kill the shitheels that murder without conscience. But what concerns me is that all this “vigilance” urging is really just a major cover-your-ass exercise. I tell you what they’re terrified of: their reputation being torn to tatters by the wrath of Fox News and their ilk when the inevitable next hit tears more innocent civilians to tatters.

It’s the 21st century terror news cycle. It’s based on a deception, delusion and denial. We’re deceived into thinking that the “war on terror” is an activity that can one day culminate in a star-spangled treaty signing ceremony on the deck of the Missouri. We’re deluded into thinking that by giving up liberties we hold dear in the name of defending them we’ll win this “war.” And anyone who promulgates the notion that walking around scared of it will do anything other than encourage more of it is in such a state of denial they ought to be escorted to an abandoned mine somewhere so they’ll feel safe.

If that idiot who set his balls on fire on Christmas day in a plane over Detroit wasn’t, well, an idiot who concluded that jihad involved flaming testicles, he probably finds a way to blow up that plane and we have us another catastrophic outcome. The fact that he was quickly pummeled by passengers had a lot more to do with their own brassy set of balls than some bureaucrat’s warning to be vigilant.

Call it instinct. Call it fight or flight, whatever. We understand. We’ll fight. We’ll claw out eyeballs. We’ll bite off fingers if we have to. Nobody warned passengers on Flight 93 that morning on September 11 that they ought to be being vigilant. But they figured it out and wrested control, cratering the plane in Shankstown, PA before it could get to its destination in DC, saving hundreds, possibly thousands of lives. Perhaps, even my own. I was at work in my office one block from the White House when Flight 93 went down. I didn’t know any of those folks, but I feel confident in saying they’d be appalled at their government for fomenting fear of the killers they did not hesitate to confront.

Somebody has to say it. Stop scaring us. Just stop. I noted at the beginning of this screed that this week’s Euro-terror travel alert touched some button with me. So I dug down into the archives and was amazed to discover that today, October 9, 2010, is the fifth anniversary of my posting of “You can’t call it terror if you’re not afraid of it.” Five years. Two presidents. God knows how many terror attempts.

Not much has changed. The “war” wages on. Your government still wants you scared (just like the terrorists do). Please don’t be.

I can’t promise you that today or tomorrow won’t bring the next horror against innocents. This, I can promise: living in fear of it will not make you any less dead if it strikes. But living indomitably will make you much more alive.

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