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Wasting Sweat on Terrorism?


You know you’re going to find something interesting in a commentary headlined “Al Qaida? What About Youth Violence?” Mounting her liberal taxpayer-subsidized soapbox on her weekday National Public Radio talk show Tell Me More, former ABC reporter Michel Martin complained about our national news/political priorities when it comes to “Homeland Security.” She would like Janet Napolitano to focus on some teens murdered by bullies, and told her so at a media luncheon:

Can I just ask you? Whose job is it to protect these kids from the terrorists they are far more likely to face than al-Qaida? Where is the interagency task force on this? Where are the important people sweating it out in small rooms, earnestly working to put a stop to this?

I had a chance to ask Napolitano this very question — politely, I assure you — and she said what one might expect: in essence, that these are local matters and the federal government needs to devote its resources to areas where federal involvement is necessary.

Fair enough, but what I don’t understand is, why is it that thousands of people can be shot to death each year — a sickening number of them teenagers — and it does not call forth even a fraction of the response we devote to the flu?

Almost anyone can agree the media gets hyperbolic with infectious disease, just as anyone can be horrified by a murdered teenager. But this compare-and-contrast game can be turned around on the NPR set: why are you so outraged over say, waterboarding the architect of 9/11, when it obviously does not compare to a murdered teenager?

Does Martin understand that she’s suggesting the al-Qaida threat is a politically useful fantasy?


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