Tag Archives: fear

Fear: Trump in the White House and 9/11

Cover of Woodward book, Fear: Trump in the White House I preordered  the Kindle version  of Woodward’s book, which notified me of delivery  to my account at 10:15 last night.  I guess Amazon is on Eastern Time; I’m in the Mountain Zone.

Is it a coincidence that Simon and Schuster released this book by Bob Woodward on 9/11, the anniversary of America’s worst attack since Pearl Harbor? I think not.

I have already posted three commentaries on the events of 9/11,  their personal connection to my family (2008, 2011 and 2014) and how my Buddhist faith applies. This will be my fourth post on the subject, in which I will explain my lack of coincidence comment and how times have changed–for the worse, politically. Some snippets from those prior posts will help explicate things. I’ll start with the 2014 post.

At the outset, I offer my profound sympathies to those who lost friends and loved ones to the actions of Osama Bin Laden’s terrorist followers. . . .  While death comes to us all, it is  disturbing when it comes unnaturally at the hands of another. From my Buddhist perspective, this is a function of karma–the effects one receives as a result of causes one has made.

My wife, who worked as a civilian for the Department of the Army, had applied but failed to get a job at the Pentagon a few years before the 9/11 attack. Here’s an excerpt from the 2008 post.

The location of the section she applied for was at or near the point of the plane’s impact on 9/11. Several people in the section, including the person who did get the position, died in the attack that day. . . . Karma is a strange thing, which we cannot fathom or explain completely. . . . I empathize with those who lost loved ones on that day even as I feel great appreciation that my wife didn’t get a promotion that would have killed her.

The clip below comes from the 2011 post.  In the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attack, a bipartisan fervor swept the the nation, during which Democrats and Republicans united in support of efforts to care for survivors and rebuild. The unity and bipartisan cooperation lasted perhaps 18 months.

More than ever, we all need to remember the sacrifices of those who died on 9/11 and as a result of the aftermath. More than that, we need to rekindle the compassion and cooperation that briefly enveloped America.

Alas, for the last 15 years, division and derision have instead enveloped America. The 2016 election gave us Donald J. Trump–the most corrupt, ignorant, incompetent, racist and unfit person ever to occupy the White House. He did so only with the able assistance of Vladimir Putin’s agents, James Comey’s inappropriately ill-timed announcements about investigations of Hillary Clinton’s emails and Clinton’s own inept campaign strategies–not to mention voters who stayed home. Then there’s the antiquated Electoral College. Continue reading Fear: Trump in the White House and 9/11

Fighting Fear–Defeating ISIS

Tornados happen. Floods happen. Earthquakes happen. Wildfires happen. Car crashes happen. Mass shootings and terrorist attacks happen–like in the airport at Istanbul.

View of Istanbul Airport
From CNN.com

What?! Terrorist attacks happen? Yes, and more will certainly come. So what do we do about it?

Do people fear natural disasters? Some do, some more than others. Do they fear mass shooters and terrorists? Many more do, no doubt. Which is why they demand the government do something about it and politicians pander to those fears. In his 1933 inaugural speech, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt said,

We have nothing to fear but fear itself.FDR in 1933

He spoke then of the people’s financial fears in the depths of the Great Depression, not of terrorism. But the notion applies well to our current state of affairs.

People who choose or who must live in the Tornado Belt have basement shelters, for the most part. People who live in areas prone to floods are prohibited by zoning laws from building other than playgrounds, parks and athletic fields in floodplains. People who live in areas known to be subject to earthquake must live and work in buildings that can survive them. New construction in Florida now must include roofs tied to the foundation and homes able to survive 160 mph winds of hurricanes. Trees and brush can be cleared around homes and building materials can be more fire-resistant. Still, nothing can prevent natural disasters, only lessen the consequences. People go on with their lives, unafraid of such potential catastrophes. In the wake of them, they rebuild–thankful their lives were spared even if their homes were not.

Few people stop driving cars in fear of crashes, despite the fact that they are far more likely to die or be seriously injured in one than be the victim of a terrorist attack. Few people stop going to the movies, to shopping malls, to airports, to stadiums, to work or to other places where masses of people congregate. Yet they still fear or at least demand government action to stop the terrorist attacks.

For decades, if not centuries, there have been those who would impose their will on others by the tactics of terror. They’re seldom successful in the long run. You can study the history of such movements on every continent of the world–save Antarctica. But our present concern is with ISIS and its fellow extremists extolling a perverted form of Islam as their guide. It’s only rarely mentioned that the goal of ISIS is to bring about the end of days in an apocalyptic war in the Middle East. As that goal eludes them, they become more desperate. Their finances have been diminished. They are losing at large scale warfare. They have lost Fallujah. White hat hackers are taking over websites and twitter accounts to mock or discredit them. In time, they will fade from existence and become an historical footnote of failure. But what should we do now, while the attacks continue?

The response of Turkey, in contrast to that of Belgium is instructive. The airport in Brussels remained closed for a week after the attack there. The airport in Istanbul has reopened in something like 14 hours, as cleanup and repairs progress. The more we cower in fear, the more we offer prescriptions for yet more ineffective screening such as, for example, inspections of all vehicles on roads headed toward airports once they get within a mile or two of the terminal?

In other words, consider the odds. We are all far more likely to die in any of those natural disasters than to even be in a 10 mile vicinity of a terrorist attack. Yes, continue going after ISIS and their ilk. Just stop being afraid and stop asking the government to do stuff that won’t work and will cost prodigious amounts of money that could be better spent on things that do–schools, hospitals, roads, bridges, etc.