by Mike Shea on 21 July 2004
Since September 11th 2001, the Homeland Security Advisory System raised threat levels from yellow "significant risk of terrorist attacks" to orange "high risk of terrorist attacks" five times. As meaningless, idiotic, and oversimplified as it is, people believe that little colored threat level. People really thought terrorists would attack Wal-Marts in El-Reno, Oklahoma. People hoarded plastic, water, and duct tape. Smart intelligent friends of mine guaranteed that there would be a terrorist act on New Years Eve of 2003.
On 20 July 2004, Secretary Tom Ridge called for Americans to "be ready". Signs on the highway tell me to "report suspicious activity". Visions of 9-11 flash into our minds. Ware the terrorists! Ware the evildoers! Perhaps I shouldn't vote at all.
While 3000 people died in the 9-11 attacks in 2001, 700,000 died of heart disease. 550,000 people died of cancer. 42,000 people died in car accidents. 17,000 people died in drunk driving accidents. 29,000 people died in deaths related to firearms.
Our media and our government make it sound like every one of us is at risk. We are. We risk our lives driving to the hardware store to buy more emergency duct tape. We risk our lives buying handguns in case the al Qaedia comes knocking. We risk our lives with every Sausage McMuffin we eat. You won't die from bird flu. You won't die from anthrax. You won't die from Mad Cows. You are more likely to die from heart disease, cancer, or an accident than all other factors combined. You won't be killed by a terrorist.
Our government tells us to live our lives and then starts snooping through our library records. We're told that we cannot let the terrorists win and then we're harassed at parks by DHS agents while taking pictures of boats.
During an April 25 appearance on CNN discussing the 800,000 strong pro-choice march on Washington, Bush advisor Karen Hughes said, "I think after September 11, the American people are valuing life more...the fundamental difference between us and the terror network we fight is that we value every life."
The administration wraps every anti-pornography, anti-abortion, television and film censorship, anti-gay marriage, and anti-file sharing agenda in a flag and declares it part of the War on Terror. If you are not with them, you are against them.
In 2003 deputy assistant attorney general John G. Malcolm tried to convince congress that file-sharing software supported terrorism. "Organized crime groups frequently referred to as 'warez' groups...are frequently engaged in many types of criminal enterprises, including supporting terrorist activities."
While we're all looking at the 12 year old girl who had to pay the RIAA $2000 for listening to Britney Spears and thinking "al Qaida bitch", our government heads a different direction. Fight fire with fire.
Lets go to war!
The cost of the damages to the World Trade Center totalled $105 billion. The cost for the War on Iraq will soon reach $135 billion. Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction. Iraq had no significant ties to al Qaida or the terrorist attacks. The sort of evil shit that got me to agree to the war a couple of years ago turns out to be going on in North Korea and the Sudan as well. While Bush hammers on his podium saying "American and the world are safer!" that little stupid threat meter doesn't go down. Now republicans look for ways to use the threat of terrorism to postpone the election.
The government uses fear to focus us on wars we don't need. The media uses fear to keep us watching their shitty "journalism" and buy more bacon cheeseburgers. The government uses "terror" to hinder technology that helps law abiding consumers. The government uses "terror" to push pro-life, anti-technology, and censorship agendas. While 3000 died in the U.S. due to terror, an estimated 11,000 died in Iraq due to our war on terror. In the worst year of terror we ever faced, we were ten times more likely to die of an auto accident and two hundred times more likely to die of a heart attack. Where's our "Heart Attack Threat Level" color box?
I don't know what John Kerry will do in office, but I think it is time we shook up the administration and got people like Bush, Cheney, Ashcroft, and Michael Powell out of office. Vote Kerry and lets try again.
Here are some interesting statistics:
Cost of the War in Iraq: 135 Billion by September 2004 Congress has appropriated for the war in Iraq in two supplemental appropriations: Public Law 108-11, April 16, 2003, appropriated $79 billion, and Public Law 108-106, November 5 2003 for 87 billion. http://costofwar.com/numbers.html
Cost of the World Trade Center attack: 105 Billion Senate Report 107-116 http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/sept_11/rept_107_116.htm
Threat index changed five times: http://www.thestate.com/mld/thestate/news/local/9112682.htm
Amount of deaths in the world trade center attack: 2726 http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm51SPa6.htm
Estimated deaths in the war of Iraq: 11,252 http://www.iraqbodycount.net/
Amount of deaths in 2001 due to heart disease: 700,142 http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/heart.htm
Amount of deaths in 2001 due to cancer: 553,768 http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/cancer.htm
Amount of deaths in 2001 due to automobile accidents: 42,443 http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/injury.htm
Amount of deaths in 2001 due to drunk driving: 17,400 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration http://www.madd.org/stats/0,1056,1112,00.html
Amount of Homicides: 20,308 http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/injury.htm
Amount of deaths in 2001 due to firearms: 29,573 http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/injury.htm
Amount of deaths in 2001 due to suicide: 30,622 http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/injury.htm
Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or follow @mshea on Twitter. If you enjoyed this article, please use this link to Amazon.com for your next online purchase.