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Fear Itself

Thursday, Aug. 02, 2007 3:13 PM

A bridge in Minneapolis collapses in the midst of the evening commute.

And the first thought from the brain trust to which a majority of America has ceded their cognition to? What if it was a terrorist attack?

After all, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff assured us there would be another domestic attack. No intel to support that claim, but he has a gut feeling. (Given how the Administration's 'gut feelings' about the stand-up nature of both Nouri al-Maliki and Vladimir Putin have turned out, I'll reserve judgment.)

But conservative columnist Michelle Malkin observed around 8:40 EDT yesterday, "DHS issued a statement that the collapse 'does not appear to be an act of terrorism.' Isn�t it too early to say anything meaningful about what it �appears� to be? Couldn�t they maybe, I dunno, say nothing until they actually know something?"

When a bridge falls, I'd be more inclined to think 'structural failure' or 'faulty construction' rather than chasing after the phantoms of terrorism. It used to be a standard in high-school physics classes to show the film of a bridge that destroyed itself because the suspension cables set up a fatal resonance.

Instead, we have idiots like Malkin leaving the door open for the possibility of terrorism. Could be, you know. Maybe. Possibly.

And from there, everything is a short walk to paranoia/fantasy land. Hidden terrorist cells waiting to fuck with your drive home (as if the daily commute in most major cities isn't a special kind of torment all in itself). Radical Islamics hiding in the basement and plotting to steal your Girl Scout Cookies or something. Subvert Congress. Enforce Sharia at the community swimming pool.

Are we so far gone that we need DHS to give its blessing for every accident and disaster? So intellectually curdled that we Just Can't Cope with the fact that, yes, bridges can and do collapse. Accidents happen, and sometimes human negligence is to blame.

But enough with the terrorism drumbeat, folks. There aren't hordes of terrorists waiting to hop on a bus and come chasing after us if we leave Iraq. There are no terrorist plots lurking in the wings � so far, we've only found nutballs who have to be coached through loyalty oaths by undercover agents, and who make attempts to trade used stereo equipment for assault weapons. And there were no 'terrorist dry runs.'

To acknowledge the possibility of terrorism in such a knee-jerk and reflexive manner cedes more power to these clowns than they could hope for in their wildest dreams. By elevating them to the status of 'first and worst' when a disaster happens, we enable them to terrorize us.

Yes, there are terrorists in the world. Yes, more than a few hate America's guts.

Are they plotting to topple bridges in middle America? Damn unlikely. Y'all might want to cut back on the coffee, it's making you jittery.

Apparently, legislators in Ohio are pushing a bill that would require a woman to seek a man's permission to get an abortion.


Because, like, you know, it takes two to tango, and 'daddy' should have a say in the decision. Because the millions of little sperm are like investing in stock or something, and give the man controlling interest.

And because we know abortion is a plot devised by pink pistol packing gangs of lesbians, out to foil all the falafel goodness from the Bill O'Reilly's of the world.

Perhaps we need to introduce legislation that gives a woman authority over Mr. Happy, since pregnancy isn't possible unless he gets off the reservation, as it were.

Or maybe we need to get it through our heads that a woman's body belongs to her.

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