Do you feel safe?

I've long been suspicious of huge amounts of security; maybe I'm just weird, but it makes me more nervous than anything else.

Something along the lines of, "terrorists might end my day very unpleasantly, but that's very unlikely. You guys most certainly will inconvenience me," I think.

Along a similar line, I don't have any fear of 9/11 being repeated, even if airport security drops off to pre-9/11 levels (which will never happen, I know). The calculus for hijackees changed, that day, in a way that will keep it from ever being possible again.

The calculus used to be, "just go along with them. It's likely to be highly inconvenient, because I'll end up in a city where I don't want to be, but nobody will die." Now, the calculus is, "If I don't do anything, not only will I die, but hundreds or thousands of others will as well."

It's not an accident that the last of the incidents that day was the one that failed. And that's the worst case of what I expect from any 9/11-type incident going forward. (As a side note, it's kind of odd that the NRA hasn't tried to say that the solution to the airline terrorist problem is to just arm everyone on the plane.)

So I don't worry about it.

But I do worry about the costs of ever-increasing amounts of "security" (I put that in quotes because lots of security is actually just theater, to make people feel like something is being done. Not all of it, of course, but a lot of it. And that lot costs a great deal of money), so I do read a fair bit about security measures.

When my favorite sportswriter went to talk about it, in the context of the Boston bombing, I couldn't stay away. And this part really rang a bell for me:

I told someone how odd this all seemed to me as an American — this was before 9/11, back when you didn’t have take off your belt or put your shampoo in plastic bags before boarding a flight — and she shrugged and said: “We deal with this all the time. Don’t worry. It’s almost always a false alarm. That’s why people are so ready for it be over. … It’s just a different life. In America you have other things. You have crime. We don’t have violent crime here. You learn to live with what you have.”

The incident reminded me of a facet of 9/11 that I haven't thought about often, since then. I used to subscribe to The New Republic, and 9/11 was what got me to drop it. It was because they had several articles that were along the lines of, "Yes, this is how we feel all the time in Israel", and I found the attitude deeply disturbing. Enough that I couldn't read the magazine anymore, in fact.

I don't have any dog in Israel's fights, but I think there is enough provocation on both sides that I can't say that anyone comes out of the fights looking innocent, or good. So trying to say, "We're all Israel now" just wasn't ever going to work for me. Hopefully, in the years since, the magazine has moved on from that position. I rather doubt it, though.

But the key to it all, for the nation as a whole, is where Posnanski ends:

“If this [sports-related terrorism] was happening on a yearly basis, we might be having a different conversation,” he said. “Fortunately, it has not. I do think it’s very important to remember that.”

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