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January 31st, 2007


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05:52 pm - Fear makes people amazingly stupid
Fear makes people stupid. The groundless fear of constant terrorist threats the US government has created makes people do all manner of stupid things. Obviously, one of those stupid things is to vote for Republicans, but you also end up with people freaking out about harmless and somewhat cute marketing campaigns and even worse, about totally harmless and even cuter fun performed by teens. I can (just barely) see ordinary idiots freaking out about this, but the idea that people may actually be arrested for doing something that should at absolute worst end up with something like a littering fine, and more reasonably should be dismissed as utterly harmless only indicates how insane this nation has become. Everytime I see something like this I just want to ask people why the hell they are so afraid of terrorists or terrorism. The risk of death in auto accidents or slipping in a bathtub are both several order of magnitude higher and no one in the US has died from terrorist attacks for more than 5 years. I felt absolutely no fear of terrorism on September 12, 2001, and I still don't and I am baffled that this seems to place me in the minority.
Current Mood: angryangry

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Comments:


[User Picture]
From:alobar
Date:February 1st, 2007 02:50 am (UTC)
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I have a theory:
a) Not enough sleep
b) Empty lives with no meaning
c) Too much coffee
d) Watching TV news.
[User Picture]
From:queerbychoice
Date:February 1st, 2007 05:06 am (UTC)
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e) Too much alcohol
f) Not enough time studying statistics
g) Not enough time studying rhetorical strategies that manipulate emotions with empty words rather than facts or logic.
From:5eh
Date:February 1st, 2007 09:53 pm (UTC)
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h)no fun.
[User Picture]
From:johnnybrainwash
Date:February 1st, 2007 05:44 am (UTC)
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Now the city of Boston has arrested at least one person:

Boston Mayor Thomas Menino said he'll seek to punish those responsible, and indicated that the penalty could be two to five years in prison per count.

And I read somewhere that they plan on suing the TV network as well.

They're smothering us in their paranoia.
[User Picture]
From:antayla
Date:February 1st, 2007 06:08 am (UTC)
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"I felt absolutely no fear of terrorism on September 12, 2001, and I still don't and I am baffled that this seems to place me in the minority."

I feel considerably more trepidation stepping into a car :P.
[User Picture]
From:fireincarnation
Date:February 1st, 2007 07:30 am (UTC)
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I don't get why people are so afraid of terrorism, too. I mean, you're like 75 times more likely to die of a dog bite than a major terrorist attack on US soil.
[User Picture]
From:alephnul
Date:February 1st, 2007 08:05 am (UTC)
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Likewise, of course.

On the other hand, if police and emergency services failed to respond to suspicious packages and they turned out to be bombs, they'd get crucified. I can see going after people for whatever the US equivalent of "wasting police time" is for the advertising campaign, or for any group that intentionally did a stunt like that to waste police time, but I can't see criminal penalties for anyone from stuff like that. The teens, I can't even see any justification for fining them for wasting police time.
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From:heron61
Date:February 1st, 2007 08:17 am (UTC)
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On the other hand, if police and emergency services failed to respond to suspicious packages and they turned out to be bombs, they'd get crucified.

Very true, but given the total lack of any bombs ever having been disguised as public/guerrilla art, I can see sending a single beat cop to give them a closer look, instead of wasting the bomb squad's time. If the cop saw something suspicious, then I can see calling in the bomb squad, but having that be the first response is beyond silly. Instead, the result is an active attack on whimsy, which of course fits perfectly with the current mode of this vile nation.
[User Picture]
From:alephnul
Date:February 1st, 2007 09:08 am (UTC)
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Wasting the bomb squad's time that they would otherwise be doing what with, really?

Sending the bomb squad seems reasonable, but, thinking about it further, I see no reason that anyone should ever even get fined for leaving something around that isn't clearly a fake bomb. The cost of having the bomb squad running about isn't something that should get dumped on to the random individuals who leave something conceivably bomb-like lying around. However much of it there is going to be, the cost should be shouldered by everyone together.

And yes, the entire thing is insane, no one is doing bombing of that style in the US, or has ever that I know of.
[User Picture]
From:heron61
Date:February 1st, 2007 09:24 am (UTC)
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That makes a great deal of sense. Btw, did you get my email about visiting tomorrow or Friday?
[User Picture]
From:alephnul
Date:February 1st, 2007 08:13 am (UTC)
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We actually, as a culture, spend a lot of effort keeping down deaths from dog bites, falls in tubs (the entire rubber bath mat industry), and car accidents (shoulder harness seat belts, seat belt laws, air bags, crash testing, etc). It isn't as though terrorism is the lone example of something where we spend a lot of effort to avert a tiny number of deaths.

Also, really no deaths on US soil from terrorism, or are you not including the things that the media mandates that we don't call terrorism, such as the assassinations of doctors who perform abortions (maybe we really haven't had one in the past 6 years) or the hate based murders of blacks, women and queers terrorism. I would tend to call the mass murder of Amish girls last year anti-woman terrorism, but maybe that is just me (and Ginmar :p ).
[User Picture]
From:heron61
Date:February 1st, 2007 08:24 am (UTC)
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Quite true, but no one but us fringe progressives call any of that terrorism. Actually, I'd call most of those hate crimes, since they are targeted at specific individuals. The Amish killings are however a different case, and might be argued to be terrorism under a more reasonable definition. However, no one in the mainstream media calls it that, and likely that's a good thing, since until things change, all doing that would be likely to do is increase general fear and anti-Muslim violence.
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From:kitten_goddess
Date:February 1st, 2007 02:56 pm (UTC)
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I'm not afraid of terroists. If they really wanted to fuck shit up, they would've blown up the Metro by now - which they haven't! Or set off a bomb during rush hour in the middle of the Beltway.
[User Picture]
From:jonathansfox
Date:February 1st, 2007 05:01 pm (UTC)
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It's certainly stupid. Every day, the US media is inundated with images of violence. For many foreigners, coming to the United States is a worrying prospect, for fear of seeing all the violence that they imagine exists here based on the media. It's little surprise that Americans will get spooked occasionally too when they're constantly bombarded by violent ideas.

While the mario blocks are not very scary, I actually can see how small wrapped electronic packages put out of reach and connected to a board with a strange character flipping the public off could concern people. They're concerned more about a Columbine-like attack than a 911-like attack with those kinds of things. It wouldn't have scared me, but putting yourself in someone else's shoes, maybe you can imagine them actually being bombs -- at least, were they in a city like Baghdad, where terrorist attacks are a common occurance. We certainly get enough pictures of Baghdad.

It is then the responsibility of the city to take people's concerns absolutely seriously. What is the bomb squad there for, except to respond to objects people are concerned might be bombs? The arrests are mostly emotional retaliation for the expense they went through to respond. It's not like they're going to blame the people who overreacted -- that would be just as stupid, and a clear breach of the city's responsibility.

Fortunately, anything they try to do to punish the guys who put up ads and the girls who set up boxes has to go through the courts, where they would have to demonstrate that something was actually done wrong, not just in hindsight (if at all), but such that any reasonable person wouldn't have accidentally caused that same concern -- they would have to demonstrate that there was some clear breach of duty to their fellow human beings and it was clearly forseeable that putting up a gurella marketing campaign like that would bring in bomb squads and close bridges.

It's overwhelmingly likely that this will all blow over, even if it has to go to court, and even the city are complete knuckleheads about it. There is legitimate complaint in that this scare should not have happened in the first place, but it's not indicative of the collapse of civilization. The rights of the accused are constitutionally paramount for exactly this reason, and life will go on.
[User Picture]
From:rjgrady
Date:February 1st, 2007 05:30 pm (UTC)
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It's opinions like yours that simply embolden our slippery bathtub enemies here and abroad.

[User Picture]
From:geek_dragon
Date:February 1st, 2007 06:40 pm (UTC)
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I was scared on Sept 12 2001. I knew a war was going to break out, but I wasn't sure if it was going to come to our territory. I don't want to be in a war. I think I might have been scared that the states would annex us for our resources to fuel the war.

On a daily basis, I'm not scared of terrorism at all. But then I'm in Canada.
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From:kitten_goddess
Date:February 1st, 2007 07:26 pm (UTC)
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In a post-9/11 world, what the girls did was absolutely stupid. Anyone with an IQ higher than 0 should know better than to leave a bunch of packages at random points around a city. What did they think they would get???

Of course, the cops were stupid, too. The girls should be punished severly, but by their parents. Not by the cops. These girls were brainless teens, not Osama bin Laden.
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From:heron61
Date:February 1st, 2007 07:57 pm (UTC)
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I completely disagree. It's not like bombs are ever large brightly colored objects placed in plain sight. The entire idea that someone would respond to these things as possible bombs is utterly silly. That sort of response is exactly like arresting someone for accidentally leaving their briefcase, purse, or backpack in a public place, because someone mistook it for a bomb.
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From:risu
Date:February 2nd, 2007 09:49 pm (UTC)
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People who stop at littering make me sick. It's violating the social contract necessary for a criminal society if you don't at least commit fraud. Blackmailing someone for littering is essentially impossible, as is shaming them; people like litterers are uncontrollable chaotic elements, moral deviants clinging to a false sense of purity, and they're damn lucky that we don't just drop all the charges entirely, declare them innocent, and ship them off to one of the innocent camps.

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