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Let It Rain

Cliche, I know, but I’m feeling somewhat sad and mopey today and rain is soothing, especially the rain you look out at through your window, the kind of rain that patterns your windowpane and makes you glad you’re inside today.

Why am I sad? Maybe it’s last night’s candy-green apple martini in combination with Linklater’s A Scanner Darkly (based on the Philip K. Dick book) – a weird and fascinating movie, using the technique of rotoscoping to excellent and story-enhancing effect – that has the tagline “Everything is not going to be OK.”  A tagline that seems much too appropriate for the times overall.

Yes, Scanner was oddly beautiful and disturbing, delving into darkness and tinging your dreams with its swirls of crazy and paranoia and hope and love and alienation. But while it may have enhanced my dour mood today, I think the morning look at the headlines is what pushed me over the edge today. Granted, it’s surely better to hear about the prevention of a horrible attack than being confronted with the terrible aftermath of one, but every time I read about the plans of terrorists discovered it just reminds me how bad the odds are really.

It is very, very hard to thwart someone willing to die. They can ban all carry-on luggage, they can make us pack away all electronics, forbid tooth paste and shampoo on planes, make all passengers strip before boarding – and yet there are no guarantees that someone won’t, at some time, slip through security. All these people need is to fool us once, for one of them to get past the checks and succeed in one attempt, and we cannot realistically foil them all. In fact, we do not foil them all. Every day there seems to be an attack somewhere, and just because the train ripped apart in the explosion wasn’t in London but in Bombay does not mean it is any less of a threat to us. Whenever terrorism strikes, we all loose, even if we don’t always give all attacks the same kind of attention.

They say that the price of freedom is constant vigilance. But constant vigilance is hard to maintain and sometimes it can lead to paranoia. I worry that news of implemented attacks and unmasked planned attacks will be used here to stoke fear and push people into forgetting about certain important things. If we grow too afraid, we can be that much more easily manipulated and are less likely to question whether the “solutions” offered us are even true solutions. Fear is too often used to quash critique and that is a dangerous path. If we give in to fear and let it paralyse us, we may end up losing a lot more than we bargained for in seeking safety.

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