[FoRK] on fear

Damien Morton fork
Fri Aug 12 02:20:59 PDT 2005

Ive just spent the last two hours listening to my wife drunkenly explain 
to me about the fear she feels living in New York.

Recently, the DHS has installed an air-testing box outside our 
apartment. Every day we leave the apartment, we are greeeted by a 
freindly notice from the DHS explaing what their box is.

This freaks my wife out - she wonders why now, 4 years after 9/11, they 
have decided to start testing the air. I explain to her that its an 
experiment so they can learn more about how gasses move around the city.

She asks me, what can they learn by from a box installed in the middle 
of summer, when there is no wind to speak of, and its so hot and humid. 
Shes asks, why now, what do they know that she doesnt know?. I tell her 
that its mostly for show, so that they can be seen to be doing 
something. I wish I could say something that would put her at ease.

She goes on, asking me how what they learn can help her if some 
terrorist releases gasses in times square. I cant bring myself to tell 
her that its most likely so that they will know what areas to cordon 
off, and who to isolate.

When I go to work, I have to catch the subway. Down there, its swarming 
with police. I know they are there to make me feel safer, but somehow I 

When I get to work, a dozen ex-marines guard the building, and there are 
police armed and armoured like soldiers wandering around the streets. 
Taking a smoko outside the building, I watch tourists get yelled at for 
taking photos.

One the day of the London bombings, an international oompany wide memo 
was sent out expressing sympathy and sorrow, but also pride that for 
this company, today was business as usual. But it was not.

We caught the train out to Conneticut to visit some friends. On the 
platform at Brewster, CT, (a tiny hamlet), were four armed soldiers.

Myself, I have been in or near 5 terrorist attacks. Luxor, the Cairo 
Museum, the Mahane Yehuda market, the Ben-Yehuda mall, and the twin 
towers. Somehow, I deal with it. My wife just cries.

When I see soldiers on the streets, and I see police dressed like 
soldiers, I think to myself, this is not where I want to be. Their 
presence is a sign of failure and danger.

I dont see the situation improving. I dont see how its possible to live 
  life without fear, in New York.

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