In case I never land

As I begin my holiday travels, I wanted to put something on the record. If terrorists blow up my plane, that’s fine.

Well, fine is the wrong word. What I really mean is that nobody should use my death as justification for more security theater, more bullshit, or less liberty.

Life is risk. People who want complete safety should stay at home under their blankets. They won’t find it there either; death comes for us all sooner or later. But there at least they won’t bother the rest of us with their eternal fear.

Since 9/11, though, our new national sport has been a competition to see who can generate the most fear. Personal fear. Primal fear. Not fear of anything important, really. Nobody’s afraid of losing our moral compass, or our national character, or our love of liberty. Nobody’s afraid of a life poorly lived.

So my message is simply this: fuck it. I am going to die. We all are. The proximate reason terrorists are trying to blow up our planes is that it will scare us. We could try to fight that by spending billions (and our civil liberties) pursuing a mirage of perfect safety. Or we could accept that sometimes shit is going to happen and get on with living our lives. Good lives. Happy lives. Productive lives. That’s my choice.

By definition, the terrorists only win if they make us afraid. So as I see it, Fox News is on the side of the terrorists. (You too, CNN, at least these days.) So is every politician who isn’t calling for calm resolve. As is every so-called analyst who uses hindsight to sound smart by pretending the disaster du jour could have hypothetically been prevented. You’re all setting an impossible standard that the TSA will try to meet by increasing the appearance of security. For my sake–for America’s sake–knock it off. Tell everybody to keep calm and carry on. Put things in perspective. Keep things in perspective.

If I die doing something I love, or going to see people I love, I don’t want you to focus on the dying. That is inevitable. Focus on the love. Because that isn’t inevitable. And that is what really matters. Focus on the love.

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