Friday, July 08, 2005


Although I was not planning on it, my friend Jason suggested I share my thoughts, observations, or whathaveyou regarding the recent bombings. Sorry but this rambles on a bit.

I have gotten to know London pretty well having visited there on three separate occasions. Interestingly, they are probably one of the places the most accustommed to events such as this with the history of the IRA. It happened more often though probably not on this scale. The event reminded me of the bombings in Paris by Algerians in 1995 when I lived there. I was trekking through the city by metro or by foot dropping off my resume at every architecture office listed in the phone book that seemed like they might hire an American. I also was one of those annoying people handing out pamphlets at the train stations for a couple weeks along side military personnel keeping watch. So I criss-crossed the city regularly. The spooky part is that I was at the St Michel station the night before a bomb went off there. I was on a train passing through Maison Blanche station shortly after a bomb went off there. And lastly I was on train that passed through the Orsay station the night before a bomb went off there early the next morning.

One point to be made is that a good number of countries in the world experience or have experienced terrorism on a regular basis. It is something new in the US, though two unrelated domestic incidents (OK city & WTC) do not make a trend. 9.11 was a large event, but the lack of frequency should suggest that not every corner of the country needs to be security concious. Does the Cedar Rapids library really need an armed guard and security drills. I would also like to say is that although terrorism is not something that should be accepted, it is something that should not be feared in daily life. I feel it has become an overpublisized topic. The war on terror, added security measures, more airline checks, 'can they get to our milk supply?'. Is it a real fear or a real danger? Does everyone really need to be reminded about it by the president and the media on a regular basis?

I think Al Queda has always thought small as shown by all their attacks save 9.11. The airline hijack was a coup and even they admit that there were many more casualties than they had planned for. The government keeps saying that we are safer now than before by evidence of no attacks since 9.11 (at least on US soil, Iraq is different). I think that the possiblity of anyone, not just terrorists will always be there, and we should accept that possiblity. But saying the possiblity of terrorist attack is the reason for this or that is starting to get out of hand. Safety checks have been in place and some logical ones have been added. We have government agencies dedicated to our protection. Let them do their job as long as they do it correctly and within our civil rights.

Part of my thoughts may be attributed to the fact that I don't trust the motives of the current administration. After seeing Fahrenheit 911, I feel they are using the war on terror in order to keep the country in a state of fear in order that we follow their direction and judgement. Fear in the US society is another topic that I will discuss in a later post.

So how does all of what I have written relate to the London incident? Terrorists are out there and they will sometimes be successful, probably most times not. There are people working on stopping them. The attacks are sensational, but the fear we should have about it happening to us should be less than our fear of experiencing a car crash or a heart attack.

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