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RE: "Fear" (Is Good)

My good friend Jay concludes his last (“Fear” - A Nation on Edge):

We also know from reports that our security is lacking when it comes to the detection of these purported liquid explosive bombs.

From this perspective, the terrorists (and if it is al-Qaeda), in my opinion, are winning right now. They have us on edge, or at least "off guard."

"On edge" is agreeable. But, with proper perspective, it just may be demonstrated that al-Qaeda (and their fellow ideological travelers) are not "winning right now."

Sleeping in consciously blind comfort while 9-11 hijackers trained to fly (not land) jetliners on our own soil embodies terrorists winning.

An economy - and entire industries - frozen or in freefall after terrorist attacks embodies terrorists winning.

A national psyche paralyzed by fear, afraid of shadows, embodies terrorists winning.

But an aircraft and airport cleared after suspicious activity says to me that we are a nation alert, not defeated by fear.

I believe it was a mean, crusty Force Recon Marine that once said:

Pain is God's way of telling you that you are still alive.
Fear is God's way of telling you to pay attention.
Embrace them both.

We are not losing. We are simply paying attention. What if we had possessed this alertness five years ago...or sooner?

So some air travelers are potentially inconvenienced by an event that may end as a ‘false alarm.’ A petty – and recoverable – experience.

It would be difficult for me to look Todd Beamer, Chic Burlingame, and nearly three thousand other slain Americans (and their families) in the eye and explain the importance of convenience.

Now, in fairness, I know this is not exactly what Jay was thinking when he wrote the above. But perhaps we should all pause to consider the value of fear rather than simply the cost.

There is an infinite difference between harnessing and embracing fear – a natural, important and useful phenomenon – and submitting to it, frozen and incapable. Ask any Marine.


The excerpted quote (sorry, I haven't read the original post yet) contains an odd conjunction: "On edge, or at least off guard."

Well, which is it? On edge is not the same as off guard; in fact, I rather think they are exact opposites. If you are on edge, you are on your guard, not off.

This is Jay's whole problem - his argument is based on a non sequitur.

Asher - the meaning you take from "on edge" is just one of many possible connotations. The point of Jay's words might have been that we are outside our comfort zone and reacting rather than forcing the action. Other meanings for "on edge" - such as being "on guard" are common, but the context of Jay's post is vital to the meaning of the phrase. Thanks for reading and commenting.

Non-sequitur? We are on edge. And if the recent position taken by Stratfor is correct, "Fear as a Force Multiplier" (meaning that our attention has been distracted), then we just might be "off guard" as well.