January 14, 2010
Terrorism: Are you afraid?
By James Wilson

The underpants bomber incident is tempting the politicians to overreact again. Of course, that's the point of terrorism, to make us afraid. We win the war on terrorism instantly if we can do one simple thing -- BE NOT AFRAID.

If you agree, please tell Congress to calm down:

Tell them your're not afraid of terrorism, and instruct them to stop being afraid on your behalf. You can also share evidence showing that most Americans aren't terrified, as I do in my sample letter, which you can borrow, or copy from . . .

I do not want the underpants bomber incident to serve as a pretext for . . .

* reauthorizing the three provisions of the PATRIOT Act that expire at the end of February
* implementing body scanners (which are not likely to make us more safe anyway)
* or any other invasion of our liberty and privacy

You may think that when such incidents occur the American people recoil in fear and start wanting Congress to "do something," but it isn't so . . .

* from October to January, the percentage of people "very worried" and "somewhat worried" about terrorism actually fell by two points, and is just 34%.

* in spite of the underpants bomber, only 11% believe terrorism is the most important issue facing us.

The fears of the few should not be used as an excuse to impose unwanted burdens and invasions on the rest of us.

Consider also that polls show the American people understand that terrorists always will find a way to launch an attack, no matter what the government does.

As David Brooks pointed out regarding the underpants bomber . . .

At some point, it's worth pointing out that it wasn't the centralized system that stopped terrorism in this instance. As with the shoe bomber, as with the plane that went down in Shanksville, Pa., it was decentralized citizen action. The plot was foiled by nonexpert civilians who had the advantage of the concrete information right in front of them -- and the spirit to take the initiative.

We the people have already won our war on terrorism by not being afraid. Overreacting to terror will not win you votes. Overreaction will, instead, hamper the economy (which voters overwhelmingly say is the #1 issue), add billions to the debt, and do nothing to stop determined terrorists.


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Jim Babka
President, Inc.

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