Money Matters

Are you concerned about terrorism? I don’t mean in a general, worldwide, sort of way. I mean on a regular, even daily, basis. I know I’m not. That doesn’t mean that I don’t think there is any reason for concern (so no need to prove me wrong, Osama). It simply means that, on a daily basis, I don’t think that the activities in which I engage are particularly good targets for terrorism. And if I should happen to be on a plane or train, or perhaps even a boat or a car, and become a victim of terrorism? Then perhaps I should have been more concerned and you can all stick out your tongues at me.

But it seems to me that the primary goal of terrorism is to cause terror. Terror is actually a pretty simple word, meaning intense, overpowering fear. Sounds to me like terror means changing your everyday life, or even your perception of your life, because you’re afraid that something will happen. Therefore, its seems to me that terrorists want you to be afraid. So what is the best way to defeat them? Pretty simple, really: Don’t be afraid.

Does that mean that I won’t, at some point, become a victim of terrorism, or perhaps have a family member or friend who has? Not at all. But it does mean that I can have some control over my life, and not simply live my life in a way that illustrates the control that terrorists appear to seek. I’m sorry for people who have died in terrorist attacks. Those in the US and abroad, those from groups such as Al-Qaeda and those from domestic terrorists.

But taking our lives and turning them upside-down in an attempt to avoid future damage from terrorists doens’t make any sense. That is the exact reaction that they seek. It turns a single event into a worldwide one. A moment of horror into a lifetime of potential horror. As with defiant children, the best solution isn’t to change your life to hope you can prevent their misbehavior – it is to go on with your life in the ways to which you are accustomed. Taking away privileges and yes, even broadcasting daily terror conditions, takes away the life that we want and replaces it with what they want. So why do we do it?

The sheer nature of our government to spend money where it doesn’t really help and effectively ignore the real problem areas means that what we’re doing isn’t helping. Rather than continuing to spin our wheels and throw money at projects that don’t work, perhaps we should evaluate the effectiveness of projects, as well as our outlook on them. Having everyone at the airport remove their shoes before borading a plane doesn’t make me feel safer, I can’t imagine it makes anyone feel much safer, and I also really doubt that it’s helped prevent much in the way of terrorism. When will we start to do things that make sense?