February 20, 2003

What if?

by Chris Feeney

What if I had bought stock in duct tape a few weeks ago? I'd probably be a millionaire right now as thousands and thousands of rolls of the universal tool as I like to call it, get gobbled up off the shelf. No there hasn't been a nation-wide call for household repairs. Unfortunately some intelligent emergency service personnel out there (maybe some that own stock in duct tape?) have suggested that all Americans should consider covering their doors and windows with plastic sheeting to protect themselves from a possible biological or chemical attack by terrorists.

Members of the Feeney family (my father's relatives have a very good knack for putting their thoughts into words) have been waging a very interesting debate via email regarding the impending war with Iraq and other issues, such as duct tape. I'll borrow the thoughts of my grandmother, who I think said it best when she wagered that more people would be hurt falling off ladders installing the duct tape and plastic sheeting than would be hurt by any terrorist attack.

Sure 9-11 has made us all aware of the danger and the possibility of future attacks, but my grandmother and I both believe we have to draw the line somewhere. There's a difference between being safe and being paranoid. I for one don't want to always be looking over my shoulder. Some things are simply out of our control. If a group of madmen wish to unleash a chemical attack on our nation, I pray that the national security world can stop them.

Besides with my old house, even with the windows wide open, the portals probably stop more cold air than the rest of the walls that have lost their insulation value over the years. I'd need a whole lot of plastic and duct tape to cover my entire house. And if I'm going to live in a bubble to protect myself from the threat of a terrorist attack, I should probably keep the plastic protection in place to prevent the spread of everyday diseases as well as door-to-door salesmen.

I don't fault anyone from being afraid. We have seen how difficult it is to stop all these evil efforts, and ultimately they will find a way to beat the defense and strike again. But I guess I kind of see it like burning up your entire crop field just because you saw one little bug that might infest your crop. If we withdrawal even further into our own little protective shields, then the terrorists will continue to win the war. Maybe we should rename them to threat-orists, because the fear behind their threats is their biggest weapon in disrupting this great nation.

It's kind of like the bully of the schoolyard. He makes a quick strike when you aren't prepared and then he lives off his victory for as long as you remain afraid of him. Granted he took my lunch money about half a dozen more times (he was twice as big as me) but I finally stood up for myself. Sure I was afraid, but if I had gone without lunch all those years he would have just kept getting bigger while I dwindled away insuring his future power over me. So whether or not it is duct tape or the United Nations dragging its feet (anchored by France, Germany and Russia) that we hide behind, unless we stand up for ourselves and quit being afraid of these terrorists, I'm afraid they're going to keep eating our lunch. If we hide in our homes afraid of the next attack then our way of life is destroyed and they win. If we allow the U.N. to stop us from attacking Iraq and removing one of the bully's best buddies, then they win and will continue to use the country and its leadership to stage further attacks against our nation. I'm just sorry the people of Iraq can't see the writing on the wall and get rid of the rotten regime without a war. Maybe we should save all that duct tape for them because they're going to need plenty to patch the holes when this is all over.

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