Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Bloomberg Says Stop Worrying; Nomad Agrees

Wouldn’t that be an awesome headline? As if anyone really cares what I think about issues like this. But really, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has hit the nail on the head, when he indicated that New Yorkers shouldn't fret over the recent plot to blow up a fuel pipeline into JFK airport.

"There are lots of threats to you in the world. There's the threat of a heart attack for genetic reasons. You can't sit there and worry about everything. Get a life," he said. "You have a much greater danger of being hit by lightning than being struck by a terrorist," he added.

The truth is, most Americans don’t really understand the nature of terrorism. Most people think it’s about killing civilians, and maximizing death tolls of unsuspecting victims. Yet I’ve met people who have later wound up being terrorists, and the remarkable thing is that many do value life.

Believe it or not, the goal is not to kill people. Rather, killing people is the only way to accomplish the goal most terrorists have. So what is the goal? It’s fear! Just like the name would suggest, terrorists want to strike terror into the hearts of their opponents. And most see the fear of death as the largest of all fears.

But it goes a step further than that; most terrorists are trying to make us afraid to live our normal lives. This is why most attacks are focused on the activities we do daily. Transportation will always be a target. Workplaces that many people arrive at daily are a target for terrorists. Even markets with many daily shoppers. If terrorists can make you afraid to live your daily life, they are accomplishing their goals.

I lived in Israel for many years (as readers of my blog know), and it was more than obvious that terrorists were targeting the daily lives of the Israeli citizens, trying to make life so fearful that it is unbearable. The killings are an unfortunate byproduct of this plan, though how unfortunate a byproduct ranges depending on the nature of the terrorist; some care less about these deaths than others.

There is an additional advantage to this strategy, which was discovered by terrorists long ago: even failed terrorist attempts can be successful in striking fear into the enemy. In Israel, the citizens make a point of living their lives, of going about their daily business without fear of the unknown, embracing each day and accepting the dangers of the unknown, because living life any other way would be to let the terrorists win.

That, essentially, is what Michael Bloomberg is advocating. He is saying that we need to live our lives to the fullest, and not live in fear of terrorism, because altering our lives even one iota would be to let the terrorists succeed, and would invite more terrorism. He understands that defeating terrorism is less about foiling a plot and more about embracing our lives, without fear of these attacks. And I applaud him for it!

Posted by Scottage at 11:15 AM / | |