current events politics

How Paranoid Do We Have To Be?


The media have been calling it a “fake bomb” and a “hoax device,” but neither description is accurate. You only have to look at it—a simple circuit breadboard with several LEDs arranged to form a star, some wires, and 9-volt battery—to see that it is wearable electronic art. Why would anyone think this simple device was a bomb? Why would anyone think Star Simpson was a terrorist?

Could it be that we have seen so many Hollywood detonators that we now expect them to have flashing LEDs and countdown timers? Terrorists are nothing if not practical. Why would they add LEDs to a bomb detonator? To make it look pretty? To draw attention to it?

I don’t know if Ms Simpson is really as guileless as she appears. But why was she charged with a crime? Could it be that after pointing machine guns at her, her captors might have looked just a little silly if they hadn’t charged her? At what point can we admit that we’re overreacting? Just how paranoid do we have to be?

Okay. I agree that we don’t want a repeat of 9/11. But I don’t think all the rigmarole at airports will stop a determined terrorist from striking at civilians in the US again. And I don’t think Americans should be cowed into patient queues and made to follow a lot of rules before we get to travel. That just makes us easy prey to terrorists. We need the spirit of independence that made our forbears stand up to tyranny 230 years ago.