Monday, May 2, 2011

The Death of Bin Laden

My feelings about the news are not ones of happiness, or even satisfaction. Rather, I have the sense that something that needed to be done, has been done.

The helicopters have been buzzing over downtown all day, as if the authorities are afraid he'll launch an attack on the fast-developing site he tried to destroy nearly ten years ago. Officials -- the Very Serious People we are all supposed to take Very Seriously -- are warning us once again that the Snidely Whiplashes of the world are about to tie us to the railroad tracks.

This attitude is what's wrong and perverse about our approaches to terrorism. The bad guys want to terrorize us, and we allow ourselves to be terrorized.

Jill, Skyler and I recently spent a few days in Washington. As we, members of the public, tried to gain access to our public buildings, it became painfully apparent that the people in charge of our security remain deeply afraid about the possibility of, well, everything.

This is no way to live. Security theater will never replace true security ... and true, absolute security is impossible to achieve, even in totalitarian states. The death of bin Laden will only have meaning if it brings about the death of an attitude: that we should be afraid, and that we can accomplish nothing worthwhile because the world is full of boogymen.

There are no boogymen. Except those we see in the mirror.

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