Welcome to the 9/12 world

In the aftermath of 9/11, a lot of people told us we needed to sacrifice our freedoms in order to stay safe. They told us we needed to have the PATRIOT act — the provisions of which had been rejected by saner Congresses in the peaceful months and years before 9/11. They told us we needed to have secret courts and warrentless searches and extraordinary rendition. They told us that air travelers would have to be treated like prisoners.

And whenever those of us who objected spoke up, whenever we suggested that maybe giving up freedom for security was a bad idea, the scaremongers and bootlickers would respond that we had to “wake up to the new reality,” that wanting freedom from a police state was “pre-9/11 thinking” or “9/10 thinking.” They acted as if freedom was old fashioned and based on a reality that didn’t exist anymore.

Well, times have changed. It’s now 9/12.

There have been 9/12’s before, but on this 9/12, the events of 9/11 are ten years behind us.  It’s been ten years since the terrorist attack that killed three thousand people, and in that ten years, we’ve had a rather peaceful time in the United States.  There have been a few other incidents on American soil, but there hasn’t been a terrorist attack on the scale of 9/11. There hasn’t even been a terrorist attack on 1/100 the scale of 9/11.

The single largest domestic terrorism incident since 9/11 was the shooting at Fort Hood in 2009 in which 13 people died. The second largest incident was the 2001 anthrax attack, which killed five people. No other domestic attack killed more than 2 people. The full ten-year domestic terrorism death toll is only about 30 people.

(I got these numbers from this post by Ronald Bailey. The count of terrorism deaths will vary depending on how you define terrorism, and if you include Americans killed by terrorist incidents in every hellhole in the world, the number is closer to 20 per yer. Either figure is quite a bit smaller than the number of Americans killed each year by lightning.)

Look at it this way: As of today, the ten-year moving average of domestic terrorism deaths has dropped from 300 to 3. It’s now the fearmongers who are living in the past.

So if a law enforcement advocate says we need sneek-and-peek warrants and a militarized police force, then he’s still living in what we might as well call a “pre-9/12 world.” If the Justice Department wants to monitor every bit of cash that flows through our economy, lest it be used for terrorism, then they need to stop living in the past. If Janet Napolitano thinks we need the TSA to rape and degrade airline passengers, then she’s the one who needs to wake up to a new reality.

9/11 is over. It’s been over for ten years. All this crap — internet monitoring, data mining, new Fourth Amendment exceptions, video cameras everywhere, GPS devices on cars — it’s all a reaction to the way the world used to be, not to the way the world is today.

Actually, since 9/11 has turned out to be something of a singular event, it’s arguable that the world was never that way at all. Granted, it wasn’t clear at the time, but given what we know now, the chance of dying in a terrorist attack on or after September 12, 2001 was not significantly greater than the chance of dying in a terrorist attack on or before September 10, 2001. When it comes to the risk of domestic terrorism, 9/11 didn’t change everything. It changed nothing.

We’ve been living in a pre-9/11 world all along. And now that we’ve had ten years to figure it out, it’s about time we told the scaremongers and power-junkies to get lost. It’s about time we took our freedom back.

About Mark:
Mark is a computer programmer, website builder, photographer, and sometimes journalist in Chicago, where he also writes the long-running Windypundit blog.
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5 Comments

  1. Posted September 13, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    I was against the “Patriot” Act when I heard the name. Reading the law only served to strengthen my resolve to oppose it and the fascist government that passed it. My only hope for the Obama presidency was that our civil rights would be restored. I should have known better – The Anointed One has enough hubris for three rap stars, and anyone with an ego like that cares nothing for anyone or anything except himself. The arrogance in the White House is appalling.

  2. Amiable Dorsai
    Posted September 13, 2011 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

    A government with no limits on what it can do to me in the name of security scares me a lot more than Bin Laden ever did.

  3. Posted September 14, 2011 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    Jack, Yeah, if you have to give a bill a name like PATRIOT, you’ve got to be up to something. Politicians always try to hide their schemes behind patriotism. Or God. Or the children.

    Dorsai, exactly. 9/11 was awful, but it’s not the worst thing that could happen to us. With 300 million American lives in its grasp, our government can, through simple incompetence, easily kill 3000 of us every year, or make our lives equally miserable.

  4. IgotBupkis
    Posted October 23, 2011 at 2:34 am | Permalink

    >>> Actually, since 9/11 has turned out to be something of a singular event, it’s arguable that the world was never that way at all. Granted, it wasn’t clear at the time, but given what we know now, the chance of dying in a terrorist attack on or after September 12, 2001 was not significantly greater than the chance of dying in a terrorist attack on or before September 10, 2001. When it comes to the risk of domestic terrorism, 9/11 didn’t change everything. It changed nothing.

    While I actually agree with you in many ways, you’re really, really talking through your hat, here.

    You have no possible way of knowing what attacks have been stopped, plots foiled, and other non-events that non-happened. And, while you can claim the government would crow from the rooftops about them, the fact is, if it requires them to reveal a capability, this is not particularly the case. It’s even more the case when organizations like the NYT and others go out of their way to basically warn possible or actual international terrorists about the means by which the government is working to identify them.

    So, while I’ve generally got problems with the Patriot Act (primarily, because it does not distinctly exempt American citizens from scrutiny under it, leading to absurd crap like te JD holding seminars for local LE about how they can apply its provisions to their drug cases), the notion that it cannot be anything but wrong is wronger than wrong.

    The TSA is inarguably an abortion, has no business existing, and is performing a function that private insurance would be better at performing.

    And it would be a Real Good Thing if our 4th Amendment rights got reaffirmed. One positive step in that direction would be to widely disseminate knowledge about the rights of the Jury to reject any finding of guilt regardless of the facts. A few blown cases ruining a DA’ s win record will do wonders to discourage prosecution under stupid laws, and the nature of the Jury is such that any law with less than about 12% general support will find someone in a standard jury to nullify it. That’s one of the reason there are efforts in some quarters to reduce the size of a jury to half what it currently is. A Fully Informed Jury is the last bulwark against unjust and stupid laws and prosecutions. While they’ve not been able to toss the idea out, they HAVE successfully buried the idea so well that you say “Fully Informed Jury” to someone and the answer is “Huh? WHAT?”. A jury unaware of its power of nullification is a jury which defacto has no such power.

  5. Posted October 23, 2011 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

    You have no possible way of knowing what attacks have been stopped, plots foiled, and other non-events that non-happened. And, while you can claim the government would crow from the rooftops about them, the fact is, if it requires them to reveal a capability, this is not particularly the case.

    That’s certainly a possibility that I can’t rule out. However, these are some of the same people who said there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. These are the people who tried to cover up the circumstances of Pat Tillman’s death. These are the people who tried to make Corporal Jessica Lynch into much more of a hero than she actually was. These are the people who put fools in charge of FEMA during hurricane Katrina. These are the people who supplied guns to drug cartels. These are the people who gave our money to bankrupt banks, failing auto companies, and thousands of questionable government contractors. So when they make vague claims and hint at secret efforts to fight terrorism, when they play the if-only-you-knew-what-we-know card, I can’t be absolutely certain that they’re lying. But that’s the way I’m going to bet.