The Face of the Terrorized: Sean Duffy (R., WI)
So, what is terror; or more precisely, what is the goal of terrorists? Is it to kill lots of people? Sure, if you can get your hands on a particularly horrific weapon, such as a dirty bomb. You could kill many people, sicken many more, and put infrastructure out of commission for a very, very long time. Certainly something like this is entirely possible. And maybe there are terror groups out there with the contacts and logistical skill to acquire, sneak in, and detonate such a bomb. Just the idea makes you quake in your shoes.
Therein lies the power of terror: the very thought of the unimaginable will probably spur you on to agreeing with activities under the guise of security you might not otherwise ever countenance.
Or is the goal of the terrorist just that: instilling enough fear that you will give up what you hold dear in exchange for the hope of safety. Survival, after all, is a human imperative.
A terrorist, however, doesn’t need a bomb to accomplish his mission. Nowadays, he doesn’t really need to conduct many terror attacks, either. A few here and there will do the job. Why? Because of the very idea expressed above: keeping people frightened enough to forfeit what they at least claim to value as barter for survival. You lose when you give up your values for the mere promise of safety, since, logically, guaranteeing physical safely is impossible.
No, this tradeoff is not rational. People capable of rational thought know that they are more likely to be injured or killed doing most anything else—driving to work, walking in a field on a stormy day, even slipping in the shower—than be shot or blown up in a terrorist attack. But terror is a weapon designed not kill as much as it is to stimulate your visceral fear of death. It’s like when occasionally you awaken in the middle of the night in momentary terror with the thought, “I’m going to die. I really am going to die someday.”
So, then, what does terror look like? If you were watching CNN Tuesday morning (2/7/17), you got a glimpse. Alisyn Camerota interviewed Congressman Sean Duffy, who appeared at various points unhinged, at other times illogical, and often lost at sea. All as he attempted to defend the banning of groups of people from entering the U.S.A. with the idea of preventing a handful of evildoers and bad hombres (to use a couple of recent presidential terms) from sneaking in to wreak havoc in our cities and heartland. Is Duffy really afraid? Who knows for sure, but what we do know is he is trying to scare everybody else, and doing a pretty poor job of it apparently.
Take a look, and keep in mind that you are looking at exactly what terrorists want, what has them laughing, what inspires them back in the redoubts.