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The Socionomic Trend Toward Risk-Aversion Continues



A nation of ratfinks. But hey, it's all in your best interest.

"An airline passenger with the words "suicide bomber" written in his journal was arrested when his plane arrived in San Jose, California, on Wednesday, but the words appeared to refer to music and he was later released, officials said, according to Reuters.

"A male was observed by his fellow passengers as having a journal and handwritten on the journal were the words 'suicide bomber,'" FBI spokeswoman LaRae Quy said. "That, combined with the fact that he was clutching a backpack, and then finally he was acting a little suspiciously" prompted law enforcement to act."

Oh well, no harm done. He was released after an undisclosed period of time. Better safe than sorry. Come to think of it, in the interest of better being safe than sorry, why not just preemptively search all passengers for disturbing writings and books and "suspicious behavior?" Better yet, why not form a task force to monitor all electronic communications and search by keyword for possible language indicative of a potential threat to our security? Still better, why not just go house to house searching all writings, communications, books, music and video for items on a Watch List someone in the government can assemble that matches potential security threat profiles?

"Dude, relax and stop being so melodramatic, nobody is going to turn this country into Orwell's 1984." Someone wrote that to me just before the Holidays after this piece. I disagree. "I hold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical." But those are dangerous words today. Suggesting there is something good about political rebellion could potentially make me an enemy of the state. Fortunately for us, the guy who originally said those words, Thomas Jefferson, was able to escape detainment and imprisonment.

Follow-up from Scott Reamer:

Kevin's note on the Frontier Airlines passenger arrested for his writings is telling indeed.

"[The word suicide bomber'], combined with the fact that he was clutching a backpack, and then finally he was acting a little suspiciously" prompted law enforcement to act." relates the article.

Yes, the clutching is always a sure sign of risk. And I can only imagine what, precisely, he was doing that was 'suspicious'. Perhaps the silver lining is that he wasn't actually shot and killed as Rigoberto Alpizar - the bipolar who had forgotten to take his medicine and was returning from a missionary trip to Peru - was by air marshals on December 7th.

Socionomically, as Kevin's posts in the past have pointed out, this type of command and control behavior is characteristic of a trend toward risk-aversion. And a serious risk aversion at that: decreasing the already infinitesimal probability (do the calculation) of a terrorist attack at the cost of eliminating civil liberties that have been in place since the founding (a civil war, two world wars, several presidential assassinations, etc). Seen in the cold economic light of the cost/benefit of such trade-offs, it would hardly seem rational.

But nobody said anything about it being rational. Not the backpack clutching Frontier Airlines passenger. And not Mr. Alpizar.

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