As we contemplate where we were when we heard the news of the twin towers being attacked and (most of us) watched the second tower get hit and then both fall, I believe on this 10th anniversary we should try to find some perspective both on the day itself and the path our nation has taken.
Let’s first look at the basics:
- Approximately 3,000 people were killed in the attacks themselves.
- A band of murderous hijackers of middle-eastern descent, associated with radical Islam, perpetrated the attacks.
That’s a lot of people that were killed by a relative few. But some perspective is in order.
Approximately 2,500,000 Americans die every year. That is, about 7,000 people die every single day from various causes around the nation. Of those people who die every year about 600,000 expire from heart disease (1,690 a day), 563,000 expire from cancer (1,500 daily), 136,000 from strokes (~370 daily) and 124,000 from accidents (~340/day.)
The hijackers just managed to kill about one half of the nation’s daily “quota” of deaths through their heinous violence. We should never forget what they did, why they did it, or who they were.
But we should also not forget some other inconvenient facts, especially in light of our Government’s response.
- Janet Napolitano likes to trumpet “See something, say something.” What she doesn’t want you to remember is that we did see something, and we did say something. The Government fucked it up from there and nobody was held to account for doing so. Specifically, the hijackers showed up in a little town in Florida and paid a lot of money to a flight school to learn how to fly planes months before the attacks. See, big-jet simulator time is quite expensive and these “students” had no shortage of money. The problem was that they had no interest in learning how to land said planes. The owner of the school reported this to the government as ridiculously suspicious and the government sat on the information. But for our government’s abject stupidity and willful and intentional refusal to follow up on the information received in a timely manner from concerned and patriotic citizens the attacks would not have occurred.
- Our Government intentionally refuses to enforce immigration law. Not only has it refused in the past, it refuses today. There are more than twenty million potential terrorists in this nation as illegal invaders right now and we refuse to get rid of them despite being very able to do so. Let us never forget that most of these hijackers were here on expired visas and thus were not eligible to be present in the United States. Not only is our government so outrageously and willfully blind as to who is in this nation as a visitor to the point that it ignores illegal immigration and overstayed visas it actually mailed visa renewal paperwork to some of the DEAD terrorists after the attacks! But for this intentional and willful neglect of the law by our government the attacks would not have occurred.
- Our Government is more concerned with protecting coddled industries than allowing the market to punish those that are culpable when citizens are injured or killed due to the actions or inactions of those in the coddled industry. Specifically, the airlines. Post 9/11 the reason for lack of armoring cockpit doors was examined and it turned out to be, big surprise, a money issue. See, armored doors weigh quite a bit and another passenger brings revenue where a door does not. The role of this decision and others related to the events of the day were never explored in court as the airlines were granted effective immunity from lawsuit after 9/11 through both ex-post-facto protection via payments to the victims families and the establishment of the TSA. This is not isolated behavior — the government takeover of GM and Chrysler destroyed a significant number of pending legal claims for defective automobiles that were alleged to cause death or serious injury. But for the government’s willful and intentional interference in the legal process we would likely have new airlines with more-robust security procedures and a choice of airline security procedures as customers. In addition were the airlines to make mistakes leading to injury or death we or our next-of-kin could sue. Instead we are rape-scanned, groped, humiliated and abused at the hand of government while the airlines and owners of airports are absolved not only of their retrospective culpability but in advance of possible future incidents.
- Not only has our government used this incident as a pretext to violate our 4th Amendment Rights (such few as remained after the “War On Drugs” was escalated in the 1980s and 1990s) it thinks it’s perfectly fine to sell guns to people when it knows they’re prohibited persons – and “Gunwalker” is not the only example. We are uncovering more exmples of sales to known felons in gangs across the country, specifically approved by government override of what would otherwise be NICS denials. Oh, the government also covers up these incidents whenever possible, especially when the guns are then used to shoot innocent people. If we’re going to have the government doling out firearms to people who are legally prohibited from buying them we should simply drop the pretext of “gun laws” altogether and instead embrace The Second Amendment. Indeed one of the primary purposes of The Second Amendment is recognition of every person’s unalienable (that means it’s your right and cannot taken from you by a government) to self-defense – no matter who’s committing the offense. It’s only been 225 years since we had to learn this one the hard way. How many terroristic actions domestically have involved someone walking into somewhere and starting to shoot, irrespective of their motivation? Of those, how many had an armed law-abiding citizen present who had the ability to stop the assailant? The answer to that one is easy: Not anywhere near enough. For those who claim that Americans are incapable of dealing with such a situation properly and would either fire wildly in response (killing innocents) or cower in fear I remind you of the passengers on United Airlines Flight 93, and ask that you please not defecate on their graves. “Piloted bombs” expired as a potential terrorist weapon within approximately one hour of their first use directly due to the heroic and patriotic acts of Americans. This nation is full of people who repeatedly demonstrate the ability to properly respond to such circumstances, given the opportunity, even at the risk and actual cost of their own lives.
9/11 was a serious incident of international Islamic terrorism. We must never forget that. But most of the economic harm and damage to our freedom that has come since has been self-inflicted. 3,000 dead Americans at the hand of religious nutjobs are 3,000 too many, but in context it is less than half of the number who die of natural and accidental causes each and every day in this nation.
Our response to this incident has been a travesty. Rather than make clear that such incidents will bring retaliation against those who it is traced to (which was inconvenient given what that government sells us) in the provision of funds and the nationality of those who participate we instead created a monstrous hundred billion dollar a year apparatus that shielded those who were partially responsible for the success of these attacks and provided cover for future liability.
809 million people flew on airplanes in the United States in 2010. If we assume that the imposition of TSA screening imposed a 10 minute additional wait on each passenger, on average, the total amount of lost time is 135 million hours. If each of those persons’ time is worth $10/hour then TSA screening alone results in an economic loss of $1.4 billion simply in passenger time, not counting a nickel of their salary and benefit expense. Over the last ten years that’s $14 billion just in direct economic impact on the passengers.
Further, of those 809 million people in the last year, exactly zero of them attempted to blow up an airliner or hijack it while in the air. There have been a couple of attempts at blowing up planes by a terrorist on board since 9/11, with the Shoe Bomber and the Underwear Bomber being your examples. But at least one of those (the underwear bomber) was again a colossal US Government fuckup, in that this individual boarded a plane for the United States and that flight was cleared into US airspace despite him not having a valid passport and visa. Exactly how that happened has never been answered nor has anyone in our government been held to account.
This record, however, belies the truth — out of somewhere north of five billion passengers on US airline flights since 9/11 the total number of suicide-intending passengers that tried to blow up or commandeer an airliner can be counted as two. That is, the odds of an attempted terrorist being on the plane with you, assuming the average plane holds 200 people, is 1 in 12.5 million every time you get on board. The odds of you being struck by lightning in the US are approximately one in a million per year, so if you fly once a year you’re 12 times more likely to be hit by lightning than share a plane with an attempting terrorist. You are nearly 1,000 times more likely to die in your car due to a crash on the way to the airport than to share a plane with an attempting terrorist. The odds since 9/11 of a successful terrorist killing you on an airliner (remember, Reed was stopped by the passengers as was the underwear bomber) have been (thus far) zero. The TSA refuses to tell us if they’ve ever caught an actual terrorist attempting to hijack or blow up an airplane, despite the fact that every single one of those offenses would be a serious felony and subject the perpetrator to a very public trial in a US courtroom. I do not recall reading of any such trials anywhere in the United States, while both the underwear bomber and shoe bomber were publicized. The only conclusion we can reasonably draw from the record is that the TSA has not caught one single suicidal terrorist. The shoe and underwear bombers were the only two since 9/11 and the TSA caught neither — both were caught by citizens on the plane itself! They have, however, groped millions and millions of balls and breasts and will continue to do so each and every year until you demand they stop.
Further, if there are so many people willing to die in order to kill why haven’t any of them showed up in a security line and blown themselves up before they got to the checkpoint? There’s absolutely nothing that we can do about that, just as searching people going into a subway station doesn’t prevent the bad guy from walking up to the searcher and detonating himself, killing dozens or even hundreds. In fact exactly that does happen in other nations with disturbing regularity. But it hasn’t happened here, and it’s not for lack of ability on the part of the so-called terrorists. One must therefore deduce that while there may be many murderous thugs there simply aren’t very many people willing to die themselves in order to commit their murders.
At the same time we ceded more and more of our freedom – freedom to travel, freedom to associate, freedom to communicate. Our 4th Amendment is now a bad joke, being reduced to nothing more than soiled toilet paper in the dustbin of history. Our police forces have gone from being an extension of the citizen posse to a jackbooted group that breaks into homes via dynamic entry on the flimsiest of pretext and far too often kill animals and people, then reach ex-post-facto for justification not through citizen review but their own biased and internal process. There is a dead woodcarver along with several dead mentally-compromised individuals who could not be reasonably perceived as a threat to the officer(s) in question just in the last year standing testament to a justified hatred and fear of police forces by this nation’s citizens. Never is it asked, from David Koresh to the man wanted in Detroit (that led to the death of an innocent pre-teen girl at the hands of the cops who fired indiscriminately into her home while she was sleeping on a couch) why it is that the cops couldn’t do basic police work and wait for their wanted individual to emerge from wherever he is, making possible his arrest where he has no reasonable cover or concealment and thus grossly reducing the risk of violence. Further, as in the case of the woodcarver, why is it that such an arrest, if it was necessary, couldn’t be undertaken by remaining far enough beyond the reach of the person that his penknife could not be used as an effective weapon? After all the cops are supposed to deliver the accused to a courtroom for trial and adjudication of guilt or innocence, not serve as summary executioners, right?
In short 9/11 was a monstrous act committed by some very twisted individuals. But the vast majority of the damage that came from 9/11 to this country is both self-inflicted and ridiculously misdirected. We would have been far better off had we ejected from government, including voiding all pensions and benefits, of everyone who willfully ignored the information presented that could have stopped the attack, and we’d be far safer today were we to shut down the open border and enforce immigration law. Were the formalities that are in that observed 9/11 would not have happened and the underwear bomber never would have gotten on the plane – that leaves simply Reed with his attempted shoe bomb over the last ten years, and he failed in his murderous quest.
As we remember 9/11 let us turn from stupidity to intelligence, and demand more and better from our government. It is within our power to so demand and enforce through the political system, and by doing so we honor those who lost their lives on this day to never forget.
They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety. — Benjamin Franklin, February, 1775