Thursday, February 28, 2008

Today's edition of "Theatre of the Absurd"

Those Homeland Insecurity folks are desperate to justify their existence. Check this out:
More that 900,000 people are currently listed as suspected terrorists on the US government's "do not fly" list, and that number will grow to beyond 1 million by summer, says the American Civil Liberties Union.

"If there were a million terrorists in this country, our cities would be in ruins," Barry Steinhardt, director of the ACLU's Technology and Liberty Program, stated in a press release from the group. "The absurd bloating of the terrorist watch lists is yet another example of how incompetence by our security apparatus threatens our rights without offering any real security."

The ACLU has launched a new Web site to track the growth of the watch list, which it says includes thousands of innocent Americans, including prominent politicians and authors as well as people with common names.

If you check the ACLU's site, they've got a sample of some of the names that have landed on those lovely watch lists. Apparently, if you were named after the late bluesman Robert Johnson, you might have to put up with hours of interrogation each time you go to an airport. Apparently, you don't want to be named Gary Smith or John Williams. The wife of Republican Senator Ted Stevens is named Catherine ("Cat") Stevens, and apparently she's also on a terrorist watch list - she looks nothing like the artist formerly known as Cat Stevens though (nor could I vouch for her singing or songwriting skills).

This is just plain nutty. Is terrorism the most pressing issue facing humanity? Hardly, as this post from Left I (circa fall 2003) reminds us:

Here are some random facts I scrounged from the web. This is a table I would love to see someone with more time and expertise expand on, in order to paint a fuller picture, but here's my start:

I'm much more at risk of being killed crossing the streets of a university town than I am of being killed by terrorists. That should help put things in perspective just a bit. Quit being afraid of the wrong things. I'll tell you something that I have been saying over and over again since about mid-September 2001 - I am not afraid of terrorism. Jim at World Report goes further:

You could simply refuse to be terrorized. Send this to your elected officials:

I am not afraid of terrorism, and I want you to stop being afraid on my behalf. Please start scaling back the official government war on terror. Please replace it with a smaller, more focused anti-terrorist police effort in keeping with the rule of law. Please stop overreacting. I understand that it will not be possible to stop all terrorist acts. I accept that. I am not afraid.
Food for thought.

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