Terrorism? I’m worried about civil liberties

The media (well, at least the ones I attend to) are all talking about how “only” four in 10 Americans are willing to give up their civil liberties to fight terrorism.

Only four? I think that 40 percent is a terrible number. I would frame that survey response differently. I think that 40 percent of Americans willing to allow government intrusions into our privacy is a sad statement.

Despite the vividness of 9/11 and the Boston Marathon bombings, getting caught in a terrorist attack is pretty unlikely. Some information I have gathered from a web search:

  • The odds of an individual dying during a terrorist attack: 20 million to 1
  • The odds of being killed by lightning are about 10.5 million to 1, making it much more dangerous than terror attacks
  • Despite the large number of deaths during the World Trade Center attacks on 9/11, both the number of terrorist attacks and the number of people killed by terrorists have fallen drastically since 1970

And so on. I worry that technology is advancing (if it hasn’t already) to the point where our privacy is limited. I don’t like all the cameras pointed at me from the corner of buildings in downtowns, and I am not happy about cell phone and email monitoring. I would rather I be left alone by the government and take my chances than have governmental intrusions into my life continue to grow.

Apparently I am not alone in this. Six in 10 people in the survey say they are more worried about government restricting their civil liberties than they are that government won’t enact new anti-terrorist policies. That’s good, but the number is still too low for me.

I am happy that fewer people today would gladly trade their privacy for more stringent anti-terror policies than 12 years ago, but I am appalled that a high number still would make that deal. Television and the Internet already have delivered bread and circuses to us. Is that to keep us distracted, making us okay with further intrusions?

When will GPS/ID chips under our skin at birth happen? You know, just to keep us safe.

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