Why I’m More Afraid of “Terrorism” Than Actual Terrorism

“Terrorism!” Ever since 9/11, it’s a word that has come to instill fear in American people, myself included. However, as I watch our civil liberties disappear in the name of “terrorism,” I’ve become significantly more afraid of the word being used for political gain than actual terrorist attacks.

The NSA and Prism scandals are just the most recent occasions we’ve heard “because terrorism!” used as an excuse to compromise our Constitutionally protected rights. Apparently, it’s a winning argument, too: the majority of Americans polled say they are okay with being spied on if it’s an effort to prevent terrorism.

Prior to the recent wiretapping revelations, the government has used “terrorism” as a way to rationalize a lot of shady actions: instituting invasive security checks at airports, racially profiling Muslims, going to war with Iraq (a country that, might I remind you, did not commit a terrorist attack against us), reading citizens’ emails without warrants, holding Guantanamo Bay prisoners for years without trial, and adding an NDAA provision that permits the indefinite detention of U.S. citizens as well. Critics of any of these measures are often shot down for not taking the threat of terrorism seriously enough.

The Declaration of Independence grants Americans inalienable rights: “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” Life does not supersede liberty – the two go hand in hand. Disassembling one purportedly in favor of the other is not the American way. Sadly, our leaders’ use of “terrorism” has become a form of terror on its own. It is now a political tool to justify actions that Americans would otherwise not stand for.

I’m all for keeping American citizens safe, I just question whether so-called “National Security” is actually attempting to do that. Last year, 17 Americans died in terrorist attacks (mainly abroad), whereas 30,000 Americans died from gun violence. If the politicians are so concerned with safety, why are they unwilling to pass even the slightest gun control measures?

It goes deeper than guns, though: 45,000 people die of a lack of affordable health care annually, yet we still debate that issue endlessly. Those are exponentially more lives that could more easily be saved. Statistics also show that you are 8 times more likely to be killed by the police than terrorists, yet the government does little to tackle the growing problem of police brutality. You are six times more likely to die from hot weather than terrorists, yet the government is still minimally addressing global warming. You are 12,571 times more likely to die from cancer than a terrorist incident, yet the National Cancer Institute operates on a budget of about $5 billion annually… an amount that pales in comparison to the $636 billion spent on the “war on terror” in Afghanistan.

Just two days after the Boston marathon bombing, an explosion in West, Texas killed five times as many people. The accident was the result of gross workplace negligence. The fertilizer plant in question not only had over 1,000 times the legal limit of explosives on site, but also failed to implement sprinklers or fire safety precautions. Moreover, the government hadn’t performed inspections on the plant for six years; during its last inspection, it slapped it with a laughable $2,300 fine for not having proper safety procedures in place.

While the Boston bombing is still a topic of national discussion, the West, Texas explosion was quickly forgotten. Rather than addressing the 4,500+ preventable workplace fatalities each year, the government overlooks a corporation that cut corners to maximize profits and destroyed a whole community. Even afterwards, the government insists it does not have the money necessary to conduct additional safety inspections, even though there’s been no shortage of funding for chasing potential terrorists with drones abroad.

Meanwhile, the Boston bombings are utilized as a reason to continue secret programs like NSA surveillance. After all, government agencies were tracking the Boston bombers… even though they stopped short of preventing the terrorist attack. Instead, it seems, officials focused its surveillance capabilities on members of Occupy Boston instead.

Ultimately, I don’t feel any more secure knowing that fascist policies are being instituted in the name of my “safety.” The private interest corruption that is likely to follow could be more damaging to the American way of life than any weapon. It’s time we put national threats in perspective and not blindly excuse everything that is said to prevent terrorism.



Jim Ven
Jim Ven5 months ago

thanks for the article.

Nancy Cornett
Nancy Jo Cornett3 years ago

I'm so impressed with the article and most of the comments. I've saved all of it to print when I get my printer working. Thanks to everyone.

Nancy Cornett
Nancy Jo Cornett3 years ago

Well said, Sheila H. Keep up the good work!

Stanley R.
Stanley R.3 years ago

The terrorists are the US government, the Corporations, the Capitalist based institutions and 90% of our politicians.

Ernie Miller
william Miller3 years ago

I am more scared of my government and the corporations they work for than any individual teariest that is hell bent on killing Americans.

Jenevieve P.
Past Member 3 years ago

On September 11th, 2001, it was my first day back to work after suffereing a stroke. As I was preparing to get ready for work, I woke up hearing my son watching the most bizarre imformation I had ever heard in U.S. history. As we sat and ate breakfast, we watched the second plane crash into the World Trade Center. What went down in consumption, came back up.
As I was walking out the door, I watched a plane fly over head of my home. It terrified me. I grabbed the frame of the door, as my knees gave way. All I could think as the plane glidied overhead was, "Keep Going, Keep Going. Keep going!" All I could think in FEAR was to possibly see another plane that morning blow up in front of my eyes!
It is said that Airline Pilots and Flight Attendants have one of the MOST DANGEROUS and RESPONSIBLE jobs as they are accountable for human lives. (probably as much, if not more than doctors and nurses do!) In this day and age, Bus drivers should be added to this list! I would say these "Public Servants" have more regard and concern for human life than our own government politiicians (and drug companies) do in the face of reality and truth concerning many facets of Terrorism!

Jenevieve P.
Past Member 3 years ago

Question: Has anyone bothered to look up the definition of "TERRORISM" and its pretense word "Terror" in the Webster's dictionary? 1. Terrorism= "Systematic use of violence, terror, and INTIMIDATION TO ACHIEVE AN END 2. "TO COERCE BY INTIMIDATION OR FEAR.
Accordingly, the fourth terminolgy of "Terror" states: An act promoted by a group to achieve or maintain Supremacy.
Did it occur to anyone that the American people VOTED for a Terrorist? Case(s) in point: 1. What American president has ever threatened his citizens that if they don't get health insuracne, they will be charged a FINE? THAT IS COERCION! THAT IS THE ACT OR TERRORISM! 2. The act of signing the Amnesty bill which will literally knock out Middle Class America and their livelihood and ability to attain gainful fulltime employment for which will allow 33 million immigrants to stay in the U.S. over the next 10 years is a literal act of TERRORISM! 3. The constant conversation to threaten the livelihood of the Eldery upon their life long earned Social Secuirty and retirement is the the act of TERRORISM! 4. Leaving families unable to afford to pay for groceries, resorting them to schlep to food banks, is the act of FINANCIAL TERRORISM! You people better GD WAKE UP!

Kristin Love
Kristin Love3 years ago

Wow! I've been Singing this Exact same Song for Years and it's SO nice to see it Voiced here. The FEAR that is running the US is astounding and Expensive as it is taking away not only our basic rights but all the $$$$$$$$ that could be spent in helping the People, the Environment and the Country as a whole. It's truly sad and horrifying if one stops and thinks about it. Fear is what we let ourselves believe. Terrorism??? As the Article says, I have more of a chance of dying by getting hit by a bus when I walk out my door....

Christine W.
Christine W.3 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

Jan Garen
Jan Garen3 years ago

Excellent article and comments.