Wednesday, April 24, 2024
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We're being terrorized every day—but not in the way we thought

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Like everyone over the age of 30, I remember exactly where I was on that 2001 day (on the tarmac at LaGuardia, waiting on a flight to Washington that never took off). But I also remember the collective feeling that the moment the first plane hit the World Trade Center, that was the moment every American’s life changed. Going back and reading news clips from that time a country panicked about foreign enemies and terrified of anthrax. But even Americans in 2001 were blissfully innocent about the potential danger from their fellow citizens.

Israel was often invoked as a model for life in post-9/11 America. A times Story Jerusalem to Israel has been described as a place “where college students have their bags checked when going into libraries, not outside … armed guards outside restaurants, synagogues and even weddings”. are deployed.” A Knight Ridder article corresponding to Jerusalem predicted, “Americans may become more like Israelis conscious of their lives in danger … where terrorism is a daily reality, and war a daily response.” The syndicated newspaper story highlighted an unfathomable detail of life in Israel: “guards patrol school entrances.”

Two decades later, terrorism is virtually a fact of daily life in America—in movies and TV dramas. Everywhere, however, the issue has disappeared in a way that would have been shocking to any American in late 2001. Asked to list most important issue facing country in May Reuters/Ipsos pollOnly 3 percent of Americans named terrorism.