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Letter to the editor

Patriot Act makes us the Paranoid States of America

February 21, 2013

Sept. 11, 2001, is the official date of the change from the United States of America to the Paranoid States of America, hereafter the PSOA. Not that there was not a certain amount of paranoia prior to 9-11 but it became a pastime after that date. We attacked Afghanistan. We were told Afghanistan was something to fear. Osama Bin Laden was there, maybe. Fear overtook the people and was fostered by government. The Patriot Act told people to spy on their neighbors and co-workers. Terrorists were everywhere and no one was safe anymore. The government even color coded the type of terrorist danger we were in. I thought chartreuse should have been used.

Soon we were told to fear Iraq. They had many weapons of mass destruction. Yellowcake uranium was being produced to make atomic bombs. We invaded Iraq. The mantra of the day was, “we fight them over there so we do not have to fight them over here.”
There has not been a significant terror strike in the PSOA since Sept. 11, 2001. Government likes to take credit for this. The truth is that the amount of terrorists is quite low. If there was a large amount of terrorists the world would be rocked with attacks on a weekly basis, including in the PSOA.

The PSOA has spent over $1 trillion to combat terrorism since Sept. 11, 2001. Every time an Al Qaeda member belches, the PSOA puts all airports and police on overtime.

The 2008 election of Barack Obama unleashed a huge wave of paranoia in the PSOA. Even though the Supreme Court ruled several years ago that the right to keep and bear arms was inviolate, the National Rifle Association (NRA) and right-wing talk hosts claim Obama wants to take all guns away, keeping paranoia at a high level. There are more than 300 million firearms in the PSOA and they are selling at a record pace. One gun manufacturer is now advertising an assault style rifle for the 8 to 17-year-old crowd.

The killing of children and teachers in Newtown, Conn., was tragic. It increased the level of paranoia. Parents across the PSOA are scared stiff about sending their kids off to school. In reality, mass school shootings are extremely rare. Columbine, Colo., years ago, and now Newtown. To hear the hysteria and conjecture one would believe these events happen every day.

Adding to the hype is the NRA and others advocating arming school teachers or placing an armed guard in every classroom.

I have four firearms in my closet. I was a hunter years ago. I fully support the right to keep and bear arms. I also believe the only time my firearms will be brought out will be for cleaning and rust prevention. I expect to never have to defend myself from Iraqis, Afghanis, terrorists or criminals. By the way, the new state to be feared is Iran. Estimates are they will have an atomic bomb in two to five or 18 years. At this time, their delivery system is on the back of a camel.

Marvin L. Nelson
River Falls