Effects of Terrorism Fears

Interesting article: "How terrorism fears are transforming America's public space."

I am reminded of my essay from four years ago: "Close the Washington Monument."

Posted on December 10, 2014 at 11:40 AM • 30 Comments

Comments

bitstrongDecember 10, 2014 11:52 AM

Is it possible public fear of terrorists is really a proxy fear of something larger? Similar to the explosion of hatred and anger in Ferguson that wasn't even in direct response to the grand jury decision.

name.withheld.for.obvious.reasonsDecember 10, 2014 12:22 PM

Fear is being used to flatten our representative democracy into a military junta. The suspension of 5th and 6th amendment rights. The infringement and violation of our 4th amendment rights. And now, with cyber warfare and the PPD 20 attitude that accompanies the militarism of cyber space the third amendment has fallen victim. And of course the 10th amendment, wherein the government is restrain from seeking powers not enumerated in the Constitution has been turned on its head.

The U.S. government has been operating under the theory of derived powers--that powers related to other powers are oki-doki. No need to amend the Constitution--just let DoD right regulations as law...JP-3 is a good example.

The citizenry is too dull and ignorant to operate its representative democracy and it has fallen into disrepair which appears to be permanent. When we can go to war with another country without any legal justification or a vote in the congress you can know that our democracy is lost. Of course this is not news to many (probably 10 million in this country) and others world wide, especially those subject to our actions and criminal enterprises.

History will reflect the abdication of our rights and responsibilities under our own laws and principles. Today representatives in congress still call on the ghosts of 9/11 to invoke and pass unconstitutional provisions into law. Wake up my fellow citizens--the government is not done transforming from a representative democracy into an autocratic/technocratic fascist state.

Bob S.December 10, 2014 12:22 PM

Selling fear is profitable and gets votes, a deadly combination for personal freedom, liberty and (previously) inalienable rights.

I say let the (wrongly presumed benign) dictatorial and totalitarian regime begin. Forget about rights, the Constitution, hundreds if not thousands of years of history.

Run the whole country like a damned prison.


Then, and only then, will people draw a line in the sand.


k9December 10, 2014 12:28 PM

It's not just terrorism, it's also surveillance. Well, and crime...

I can't count the #times, post 9/11, that I didn't do what I wanted to do, what should be done, because of how it could be made to be construed.

It kind of feels like the terrorists won.

keinerDecember 10, 2014 12:33 PM

...no, it won the ones that want to make you fear "terrorism".

btw how many hundreds of thousands of non-US people have died, lost their family/home etc pp.? Are you really the one to start whining?

keinerDecember 10, 2014 12:34 PM

...no, it won the ones that want to make you fear "terrorism".

btw how many hundreds of thousands of non-US people have died, lost their family/home etc pp. in the "war on terror" of the "coalition of the willing"? Are you really the one to start whining?

graysladyDecember 10, 2014 12:53 PM

The bottom line on that article: promotion of fear results in increased corporate profits. That has been the game all along.
I'm far more frightened of encountering US citizens with concealed weapons at places that used to be purely for recreational enjoyment, such as beaches and parks.

Gerard van VoorenDecember 10, 2014 12:54 PM

Today I would like to nominate G.W.Bush the Nobel Peace Price for his hard work in preventing terrorist attacks in the U.S. after 9/11. Obama already got his one and he looks at it each time he sign the order to kill a bad guy with a drone strike.

GweihirDecember 10, 2014 5:05 PM

While fighting irrational fears is mostly futile, it is still exceedingly important to continue doing it. Fear is the mind killer [1], and it makes people less than human and opens them up wide to evil manipulation of all kinds. Even a tiny success against that is very much worth the effort invested.

[1] Frank Herbert, "Dune"

AlanSDecember 10, 2014 9:13 PM

@Bob S

"Selling fear is profitable and gets votes..."

Andrew Bacevich's comments in the Boston Globe today: Torture report highlights consequences of permanent war

"War thrusts power into the hands of those who covet it. Only the perpetuation of war, whether under the guise of “keeping us safe” or “spreading freedom,” can satisfy the appetite of those for whom the exercise of power is its own reward. Only war will perpetuate their prerogatives and shield them from accountability."

And there is no accountability for the crimes committed in the name of security; just accounting. They are not the same thing.

"Critics will accuse Feinstein of endangering the nation’s safety, soiling its reputation, hanging out to dry patriotic agents doing what needed doing in our name. This is all nonsense. Her actual failing is far worse. She and her colleagues are doing what the state always does for itself in these situations: administering a little public slap on the hand, after which an ever-so-quiet return to business as usual will ensue."

It speaks volumes that the only people Obama is interested in prosecuting are whistleblowers: Binney, Snowden, and CIA torture whistleblower John Kiriakou

NobodySpecialDecember 10, 2014 11:55 PM

The USA is lucky - terrorism is now the greatest threat to Britain in its history according to the UK Home Secretary (roughly attorney general)

Not the Roman, Viking or Norman invasions, not the civil wars (various) not the Spanish Armada, Napoleon or Hitler or even 2000 CCCP warheads.

And not even the christian terrorism that has killed 3500 people in the last 40years - but the new muslim type that has killed 52 people.

ChristianDecember 11, 2014 9:33 AM


China, Iran, North Korea and USA ... countrys that are morally not below torturing people.

Fear has lead the USA to torture, to surveillance. Treating the whole world like a colonialregime has not made the world a better place!
Abandon Fear! Be brave! Human Rights are worth the risk!

MusashiDecember 11, 2014 9:47 AM

Keeping the population in a state of constant fear isn't a new thing.
While in High School in the 1980's we lived in constant fear of the CCCP/Ruskies/Reds/Commies, nuking us all into oblivion!
When the population is in a state of fear, they think irrationally; can be easily distracted from real crimes of the politicians/powerful/wealthy and manipulated.

mbDecember 11, 2014 10:44 AM

@keiner, you are propagating exactly the straw man argument that has put things into the shape they are in now: Because other people are dying, America need to give up human rights and liberties. The fallacy of that argument is that the two are not mutually exclusive. It is possible to maintain a free and just society AND fight terrorism. In fact, the best way to combat terrorism is to maintain a free and just society.

If a small fraction of the billions of dollars that are spent on luxury yachts and palaces for the middle east elite were spent on providing infrastructure and education for the people there would be no terror threat. Terrorism and guerrilla warfare arise when people have nothing left to lose.

FlintDecember 11, 2014 6:07 PM

Fear is only one side. Greed is another.

Fear and Greed don't stop at the national border, either. In America and else where, people are proven to exploit their own kind, whether one is of a different citizenship does not deter this action.

jaimeDecember 11, 2014 6:41 PM

Dear shareholder, talking on Fear and Freedom requires a disclosure agreement on your bonds, so please be parsimonious.

vas pupDecember 12, 2014 10:14 AM

@Musashi:'When the population is in a state of fear, t h e y t h i n k i r r a t i o n a l l y[or don't think at all just following crowd/mob as ancient folks - VP]; can be easily distracted from real crimes of the politicians/powerful/wealthy and manipulated."
You touch the nerve! I added some comment inside yours. Fear increases level of suggestablity and desire follow the group/leader unconditionally. Whenever somebody try to put you in emotional state (except pure love I guess), this the warning sign you are going to be used or/and manipulated(you are right on that as well). Beware!

AnuraDecember 16, 2014 11:51 AM

@vas pup

It's a nice idea, but easily countered by using the same software, or possibly just a semi-random burglary location generator. Bonus points for using google street view and image recognition to locate homes with security systems based on the sign in the yard or sticker in the window.

vas pupDecember 16, 2014 12:03 PM

@Anura • December 16, 2014 11:51 AM.
Yeah, security is dynamic not static permanent game on attackers and security folks. Who is who is dynamic as well. Role assignment is dynamic as well I guess. Creativity and imagination win, as Bruce suggested in his book related.

ajw93January 7, 2015 3:16 PM

I certainly don't agree with many things my governor does, but the one thing I 100% approve of and wholeheartedly praise at every opportunity is that his first order of business was to remove bollards around our state capitol in Albany, NY. People should be able to walk in. People should be able to walk up and down the street without negotiating an obstacle course.

I left Washington, DC, after twenty years of living in the inner suburbs and working in the city itself because, mainly, the city and surrounding counties had become unliveable. I became more and more maddened by the difficulty of simply trying to get to work in the morning. The Capitol Visitors Center would make a very nice museum, but that's simply not what it is. It is a security station in pretty window dressing, and as such it should not exist. Because just like in Albany, if there's ONE BUILDING in the entire United States into which the populace should have the right to walk in off the sidewalk, it's the seat of the representative government (and the adjacent congressional office buildings too!).

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