I believe a truth generally recognized is that the US precautions regarding flying—the strip search, the pat downs, the random luggage wreckage, the shoe/belt/coat/hat/coins/keys/whatever removal, and so on, far in excess of common sense and the practices of other countries (most of whom have experienced much more terrorist activity than the US)—are close to paranoid and also almost entirely “security theater”: ineffective stunts done publicly to make us feel better and to postpone actually dealing with the problem.
But we also frequently read reports (such as this morning’s) of someone going berserk and shooting a bunch of people. This sort of occurrence is increasingly common—once a month? more frequently?
And yet: people grow hysterical about any small effort to control the availability of firearms. The slightest effort to make firearms less readily accessible—particularly to those we least want to get them—are shot down (as it were) by the National Rifle Association and their paid Congressional hirelings.
Does anyone else find this juxtaposition odd? Timorous about flying, but willing to be shot to death in malls and schools. Strangely fearful on the one hand, fatalistically accepting frequent stupid deaths on the other. Going to any lengths—regardless of privacy, humiliation, intrusive searches—when around airplanes, but rejecting any hint of control of firearms.
It doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.
UPDATE: Another example of the schizophrenic approach, provided by James Fallows. This one again is on the timorous, fearful side. The article at the link is about the panic terror induced by observing a guy taking a photograph of a tree, with an armed emergency response to this threat to our safety.