Was there a credible bomb threat to New York City’s subway system or not? The warning, coming as it did in the midst of a week full of continuing bad news for the Bush Administration, would be easily dismissed as politically motivated, except that the Department of Homeland Security are among those suggesting that the intelligence behind the threat isn’t credible. That seems somehow backwards.
But credible threat or not, there has been much discussion of how frightened New Yorkers should be. Someone (apparently from Wichita) wrote:
I’m sure that many New Yorkers are aware of a bomb threat. I’m also sure that many are in deep denial. If they weren’t in denial they’d be looking hard for jobs elsewhere right now.
I really can’t see getting all worked up over this or any other threat, regardless of its credibility–certainly not to the point of ever leaving New York. The way I see it is that riding the subway is orders of magnitude safer than driving, so much so that even if there were a suicide bombing on the subway every day, the average subway rider would probably still be statistically safer than the average automobile commuter. (As an aside, how many people have been killed by, say, drunk drivers since September 10, 2001? Where’s the War on Drunk Driving? What is it about global terror that’s so much more compelling than, say, global AIDS? Why are we so worried about the few hundred that might be killed by terrorists, but not, say, the thousands or even millions who are far more likely to be killed by a bird flu pandemic? Why are some deaths more compelling than others?)
Or as another New Yorker put it:
Yeah, that’s our dream: to move to Wichita and spend our weekend nights watching Clem and Cletus blow up gophers. Especially now that their crystal meth is drying up, I’ll give Cowtown a miss and take my chances with the suicide bombers.
It’s amusing to me that terrorism is effective not against those who have been or might be harmed by it, but by those who face no danger whatsoever. That is, as they say, when the terrorists have won.