Thingish Things

Secure What?

Written By: William F. B. O'Reilly - Apr• 26•11

The 9/11 attacks gave rise to at least two bubbles.  The big one, the housing bubble has been discussed endlessly. Super-low interest rates sent millions into the mortgage market; the bubble eventually burst, and the world economy collapsed.  We know that story all too well.

But a smaller post-9/11 bubble remains, and may never pop.  It won’t take down the economy like the mortgage crisis did, but it will bleed billions of taxpayer dollars in the years to come — and sap the spirit of U.S. citizens in the process.  It is the security bubble that is choking federal, state, and municipal government office buildings, and transportation hubs, regardless of their strategic importance. It has become a living hell to enter any of them.

I attended a New York State Senate hearing this morning at 250 Broadway in New York City — a pubic hearing — and it took me 35 minutes to get through security. It was like trying to get into Fort Knox.  (I only got through because my colleague knew someone in the building.) At 9 AM there must have been 100 people in line at security — the queue was spilling onto the sidewalk – to get into a building where nothing of possible interest to a terrorist network has ever taken place.  Ever.

We see similar security in almost every city and state in the U.S.  Cities barely on the map have erected sophisticated security apparati.  I hate myself for thinking it,  but whenever I pass through a metal detector or undergo a wand check in a particularly obscure locale I think the same thing:  “Don’t flatter yourself. Who the hell wants to bomb you?” The answer, of course, is no one.

But that’s a truth we cannot talk about, because a.) “God-forbid, what if something happened?”, b.) No one wants to appear soft on terrorism, and c.) Security is a multi-billion dollar industry.  It lobbies. Indeed, the 9/11 attacks have been squeezed and exploited for every drop of funding for every imaginable security device, needed or not, and then some.

The Soviets used to indiscriminately set up traffic barricades whenever they wanted to subdue the spirits of its citizens.  It was a tried and true method of breaking their will when they got uppity. Well the KGB could learn a lot from the guards at U.S. government buildings today.  They can grind you into despair inside an hour.

I know this is a dangerous world. I know the bad guys probe our defenses, but c’mon. The lock down in America has gotten ridiculous. Not everything is a target, and everything cannot be kept safe if it were.    I, for one, would rather take my chances than get back into the line I was in this morning.


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  1. Me says:

    You’re totally missing the point. The so-called “threat of terrorism” is nothing but a cover story. The security is intended to keep TRUMP out.

    • That’s too funny. Dwight, you HAVE to start a blog called “Chinese Handcuffs.” It’s a must.

      • Your Friend says:

        It’s a fine idea. I’m afraid I don’t have the time, though. Three kids, a challenging job, wife, mortgage, professional hobbies. It’s all a bit much as it is. Sometimes I feel like I’ll just drop dead from over use. If I do start a blog, I promise to call it Chinese Handcuffs (although I liked Screed a lot, back in the day).

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