To put things in perspective, whizbang statistician Nate Silver breaks things down. He compares flights that have experienced some sort of terrorist attempt with those that haven't.
There were a total of 674 passengers, not counting crew or the terrorists themselves, on the flights on which these incidents occurred. By contrast, there have been 7,015,630,000 passenger enplanements over the past decade. Therefore, the odds of being on given departure which is the subject of a terrorist incident have been 1 in 10,408,947 over the past decade. By contrast, the odds of being struck by lightning in a given year are about 1 in 500,000. This means that you could board 20 flights per year and still be less likely to be the subject of an attempted terrorist attack than to be struck by lightning.
So, the odds being forced to witness some lunatic failing to blow his dick off are pretty slim. You could be struck by lightning 20 times before you reach the same level of improbability. If you do manage to see this happen on an airliner, buy a lottery ticket immediately -- you may be in some sort of cosmic sweet spot.
But this is America, dammit. We don't let a little thing like math get in the way of a good old fashioned panic. If we did that, we might conclude that airline travel is relatively safe. Where's the fun in that?
Rep. Pete Hoekstra demonstrates the way you deal with this sort of one in 10 million event. You totally freak out, lose any sense of perspective, and -- if you can manage it -- eat your own shoe.
Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.) said Sunday that it is fair to blame the Obama administration for the attempted bombing of a Northwest Airlines flight bound for Detroit on Christmas Day.
Hoekstra, the top Republican on the House Select Intelligence Committee said that the administration has not taken the threat of terrorist threats on the U.S. seriously.
Asked by Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace if it is fair to blame the Obama administration for the attacks, the Michigan Republican replied "Yeah, I think it really is."
"The Obama administration came in and said we're not going to use the word terrorism anymore," Pete said, "we're going to call it man-made disasters, trying to, I think, downplay the threat from terrorism." Not surprisingly, smart people were quick to point out that Hoekstra's a moron.
"By any reasonable measure, this is breathtakingly stupid," writes Steve Benen. "Putting aside the fact that Hoekstra, as a factual matter, isn't even close to reality -- the White House uses the word 'terrorism' all the time, whether Hoekstra keeps up on current events or not -- the argument itself is ludicrous. Abdul Farouk Abdulmutallab tried to blow up an airplane based on Obama administration rhetoric? Is that really the line the ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee wants to share with a national television audience?"
I have a lot of respect for Benen, but I'm surprised he hasn't noticed that "breathtakingly stupid" happens all the time. After all, Hoekstra's speaking to the same group of people who've elevated mental midgets Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, and Glenn Beck to the same status most people reserve for folks like Mark Twain. When you're talking to idiots, it helps to speak the language. And the Republican Party is becoming fluent in Idiotese.
Take, for example, noted lunatic Sen. Jim DeMint. When it comes to Idiotese, DeMint isn't just fluent, he's a poet.
And this is at a time, as Senator Lieberman said, that we’ve got to use our imaginations, we’ve got to be constantly flexible, we have to out-think the terrorists. And when we formed the airport security system, we realized we could not use collective bargaining because of that need to be flexible. Yet that appears now to be the top priority of the administration. And this whole thing should remind us, Chris, that the soft talk about engagement, closing Gitmo, these things are not gonna appease the terrorists. They’re gonna keep coming after us, and we can’t have politics as usual in Washington, and I’m afraid that’s what we’ve got right now with airport security.
That's right, we shouldn't deal with unions, because that won't appease terrorists. I could spend all day unpacking all the stupid in this statement for you, but neither of us have that kind of time. So we'll just hit the most obvious two points; 1) al Qaeda doesn't give a crap about collective bargaining and 2) I thought appeasing terrorists was supposed to be a bad thing.
But, hey, it's not about terrorism or the one in 10 million event of some moron trying to blow his own dick off -- it's about attacking Barack Obama. This is what we'll be dealing with so long as this man is president. Get used to it, because the Big Republican Plan for Taking Back America hinges on being this stupid.
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