I Take a Step Away from Cory Doctorow’s Side of the Room

Earlier in the week (before the Heathrow thing), I quoted Cory Doctorow making a point about reacting to terror with fear. Here’s the quote:

The bottom line is, terrorism doesn’t kill many people. Even in Israel, you’re four times more likely to die in a car wreck than as a result of a terrorist attack. In the USA, you need to be more worried about lightning strikes than terrorism. The point of terrorism is to create terror, and by cynically convincing us that our very countries are at risk from terrorism, our politicians have delivered utter victory to the terrorists: we are terrified.

I like this sentiment, and I think an element in America has happily handed over a victory to terrorists. On the other hand, I don’t think this logic necessarily applies to the current reaction to the Heathrow plot. Doctorow clearly does, and I’m not sure he’s really thinking this through.

Here’s a question: Does Tony Blair get to bring his laptop on his government plane? Can Laura Bush keep her lipstick with her on Air Force One? Does Dick Cheney take off his shoes and get them x-rayed before he flies? How about Condi Rice’s knee-high lace-up boots? Is her mission to Israel delayed while she tries to re-lace them while balancing her laptop bag on one shoulder and trying to get her watch back on?

Um… get your own private plane (or get a job that provides one) and you can enjoy the same privileged status, Cory.

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  1. Posted August 11, 2006 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

    I think you’re missing the point. These people tell us that these are the necessary austerity measures in the extraordinary times. If FDR told us to fast on Wednesdays and turn our furnaces off on Fridays to help the war effort, I’d expect him to do the same, even if he had a bunker full of canned goods and his own private free energy heater. As far as I can tell, 100 percent of the “security measures” to “fight terrorism” apply to 0 percent of the people who makes those decisions.

  2. Posted August 14, 2006 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    Hey cool, there are comments on here after all. Maybe you just forgot to remove them. 😉


  3. Posted August 30, 2006 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    [Weeks after the fact, I notice Cory’s comment waiting in the moderation bay, so this isn’t totally fair.]

    Cory, the difference is that FDR’s actions would actually help the effort. The same isn’t true in this case for the reason you make fun of: we know the President et al. are not terrorists. So it would be nothing more than a gesture of solidarity. And while that could be seen as honorable, I don’t think it should be expected.

    And it’s not all that strange for people to make decisions that don’t directly affect them.

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