Wednesday, August 16, 2006

What is the most persistent threat we face?

Everyone was afraid of the bird flu just a few months ago. Right now it is the fear of everyone else aboard the plane one is travelling on. Yet it is seems to me that very few have been willing to face the biggest threat our way of living is facing right now – paranoia. The latest news is that a plane to Washington was rerouted and accompanied to the alternative airport by not one but two fighter planes after what was deemed a threat to its safety. What was this danger that justified affecting the lives of hundreds of people? Well, if the reports are correct (a big ‘if’, I grant), the threat in question was a sixty year old woman with hand cream and matches. I guess if a bunch of guys without plane tickets, explosives or passports can lead to a nationwide critical threat level and cause a break down in the functioning of the nation’s air transport system – all without actually doing anything – an elderly lady with matches is cause to arm the Sidewinders on F-16s. Like John Reid says, “a persistent and very real” threat… of becoming paranoid, irrational maniacs who jump at the sound of someone shutting a Koran, that is.


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