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Member since: Sat May 15, 2010, 03:48 PM
Number of posts: 7,575

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The security illusion

Safety, security -- these are illusions. Always have been, and, short of each of us living in armored pods hermetically sealed off from our fellow human beings (including, I might add, from our own families, since most of us, statistically speaking, stand a far higher risk of being injured or killed at the hands of a family member than by terrorists), always will be. Neither the people of Paris, nor the rest of the world, are any less safe because of the Paris attacks than we were before. The only thing that has changed is that our precious illusion of safety has momentarily been shattered. The attacks amount to barely a microscopic upward blip in the statistical risk faced by anyone of bring injured or dying in a terrorist attack.

And frankly, the sheer hypocrisy surrounding the hysteria over Syrian refugees is astounding, particularly in a country where, with mind-numbing regularity, scores are killed in one mass shooting after another, and yet most of us are content to go about their lives as if nothing had happened every time. In case anybody has forgotten, neither you, nor your child nor any other loved one, will be any less dead having been killed by a crazed, young, white American male with a gun than having been killed by a terrorist. So, 'safety,' you say? I don't want to hear it!
Posted by markpkessinger | Thu Nov 19, 2015, 05:33 PM (3 replies)

Paris in Perspective

What happened in Paris is an unspeakable horror, but no less horrific is the daily terror we have been raining down from the sky upon people across the Middle East for many years now. Some defend our "collateral damage" by pointing out that we "don't intend to target innocents" with our drone strikes. But that is a pretty weak defense, given that we target individuals while they are present at social gatherings -- weddings, funerals, etc. -- where we full well know innocent people will die in the strike. And in any case, I suspect that distinction between 'intended' and 'unintended' comes as cold comfort to any surviving family members.

The expressions of solidarity with and support for the people of Paris are commendable. But even as we make those gestures, we should, lest we become rather too righteous in both our sadness and our anger, remember that our own perceptions of 'innocence' are often skewed, our compassion and empathy not as universal as we like to tell ourselves, our outrage and indignation selective, and often quite conveniently so. I mean, when was the last time people en masse changed their Facebook avatars to the flag of Yemen, or gave such an outpouring of support for the people of that country, after one of our drone strikes took out dozens of innocent Yemeni citizens? Indeed, when was the last time anybody even gave a moment's thought of doing so?
Posted by markpkessinger | Sun Nov 15, 2015, 05:33 PM (35 replies)
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