The Fear Factor and the Boston Bombings

I read that on Chris Hayes’ MSNBC show he had on an FBI agent and they were discussing the Boston Marathon bombing. The surprising thing to many people is that that FBI agent told how the US government now has the power to arrest people and not provide the suspect with the famous Miranda warnings before they question them. I saw a lot of surprise at that fact by people on my twitter time-line. The Obama administration used the “underwear bomber” and his attempted act of terrorism in Detroit to reduce the Miranda rights of American citizens.

The fact is that the government uses each of these terror incidents to exploit the fear of the citizens to increase its power and to strip civil rights away from the people. I agree substantially with security expert Bruce Schneier and his ideas in his Atlantic Magazine article on the Boston bombings. It is very important that we not react irrationally due to our fear.

Bruce Schneier wrote:

As the details about the bombings in Boston unfold, it’d be easy to be scared. It’d be easy to feel powerless and demand that our elected leaders do something — anything — to keep us safe.

It’d be easy, but it’d be wrong. We need to be angry and empathize with the victims without being scared. Our fears would play right into the perpetrators’ hands — and magnify the power of their victory for whichever goals whatever group behind this, still to be uncovered, has. We don’t have to be scared, and we’re not powerless. We actually have all the power here, and there’s one thing we can do to render terrorism ineffective: Refuse to be terrorized.

It’s hard to do, because terrorism is designed precisely to scare people — far out of proportion to its actual danger. A huge amount of research on fear and the brain teaches us that we exaggerate threats that are rare, spectacular, immediate, random — in this case involving an innocent child — senseless, horrific and graphic. Terrorism pushes all of our fear buttons, really hard, and we overreact.

But our brains are fooling us. Even though this will be in the news for weeks, we should recognize this for what it is: a rare event. That’s the very definition of news: something that is unusual — in this case, something that almost never happens.

I agree that we should be vigilant against any government attempt to exploit fear over this horrific act. Be on the lookout for government measures to reduce your freedom and liberty even further. The US has been moving towards a police state for years and such incidences as the events of 9-11 or the bombings in Boston are used by propagandists to increase the power of the state and to further enslave the people. Note in particular that Schneier points out how the more unusual that an event is the more people naturally exaggerate its significance and frequency.

I am in great sympathy for all who were hurt or killed in Boston and for their families and friends. I am in sympathy for all who are now frightened as they go about their daily lives due to this event. But that fear is exactly what the perpetrators of this horrific event want. As Ron Paul pointed out so very many times during his run for the nomination of his party for president, it is our own foreign policy that is driving the violence and the blow back. We need to bring all of our troops home and stop all of our brutal occupations abroad.

Even if we fixed our foreign policy there is no way to ever be 100 percent safe from any acts of terrorism. We have had such acts throughout history and all we can ever expect is to minimize the occurrence by stopping our decades long drive to create enemies. Remember, war is the health of the state and it is the state that has created the environment that encourages these horrific random acts of violence. Don’t let the state get even more powerful due to the situation that they have caused.


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