Tags: Homeland Security | Boston | Fear | terror | media

Boston Reaction Creates More Fear

Wednesday, 24 April 2013 11:20 AM Current | Bio | Archive

The act of terror in Boston reopened wounds in the American psyche. Unlike the 9/11 attacks, however, when we almost immediately knew the culprits, there was nothing but rampant speculation in the media, with each network competing to get a more spectacular — and increasingly irresponsible — angle on the bomber’s identity.
The result was less coverage about the victims and more fear-inducing “analysis,” creating jitters in an already skittish public. And that is anything but helpful.
Honest to God, this was the opening paragraph of an L.A. Times article:
“In response to the bombings at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, the Los Angeles police Department said there would be an increased security presence at and around Dodger Stadium on Monday night.”
Good news for all the boys in blue fans. Because clearly Dodger Stadium ranked No. 1 as the follow-up target for a mad bomber 3,000 miles away.
Or was it so many major cities that went on “high alert” — despite no threats. Or scores of other places that rolled out Patton’s Third Army for the requisite show of force?
While reasonable precautions are necessary, it is both egotistical and irrational to think your city or facility will be targeted next. But never let those things stand in the way of a good press conference and the opportunity to grandstand. After all, the best way to appear strong is to scare the bejesus out of people.
Well, mission accomplished.
Unfortunately, fear-mongering isn’t the exception. Media mega-hype and government overreaction have become standard operating procedure anytime something tragic, or even “suspicious,” occurs — which encompasses virtually everything. And it has become an art form: an event occurs, and immediately we see police with machine guns on every corner, bomb-sniffing dogs at stadiums and transportation hubs, and the White House security perimeter extending outward to six states.
Eschewing a laser-focus in addressing our problems, we opt for the screaming, shotgun approach — which may sound good but accomplishes nothing. Too often, these “solutions” are merely to make ourselves feel better, allowing the bad guys to catch a break.
Consider: With all the protections in place after 9/11, and despite being in a constant state of alert on the famous color-coded security chart, did we stop the Times Square Bomber or the underwear bomber? No. Both boarded planes, despite being on the terror watch/no-fly list. Did we stop the shoe bomber? No. Did we stop any of the mass shooters? No.
Instead, we created a petrified public that has the police chasing ghosts every time a bag, car, or person looks “suspicious.” Vigilance is one thing. Paranoia is another, and we have succumbed to the latter.
Rather than streamlining our intelligence capabilities and instituting real security measures to A) understand why these things are occurring, and B) try to prevent them in the future, we demand knee-jerk security solutions that actually make us less secure.
Do we profile at airports? No. Bowing to political correctness, we interrogate 80-year old grandmothers carrying nailclippers while those fitting the profile of fundamentalist hijackers stroll onto our planes with a smirk. Do we search all shoes for explosives? No.
We tell the world that those under 13 get a free pass — a stellar policy, if only suicide bombers valued their children’s lives. Do we perform scanner searches and pat-downs on a widespread basis? No, because people are “offended.” Well, that, and because hundreds of scanners sit idly in warehouses, not airports.
And while the gun control debate is for another column, it is worth noting that the most stringent gun control laws in the nation would not have prevented any of the massacres, yet the “answer” drowning out all others is to ban guns. That’s like trying to bail out the Titanic with a Dixie cup. It won’t work.
People need to feel secure and reassured, for good reason. A quick news conference by a mayor, along with a moderately increased police presence (without publicly revealing security plans), would accomplish that with a minimum of fear. “We have no threats in the region, but will remain diligent as always in protecting the people.” Bingo.
Ironically, a massive show of force makes people feel less safe. Before the video of bomb dogs patrolling Dodger Stadium, did a single ticket holder contemplate not attending the game? Of course not. But the ensuing overreaction undoubtedly left some seats empty, with many people needlessly on edge.
It’s time to stop living in a culture of fear, and once again start acting like rational, level-headed people. Otherwise, the next generation won’t just be dysfunctional, but psychotic.
We owe the victims no less.
Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, Freindly Fire Zone. Read more reports from Chris Freind — Click Here Now.


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The act of terror in Boston reopened wounds in the American psyche. Unlike the 9/11 attacks, however, when we almost immediately knew the culprits, there was nothing but rampant speculation in the media.
Wednesday, 24 April 2013 11:20 AM
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