My Word for October 18, 2001

Why is it that we're getting all worked up about this pesky anthrax bacteria when it has done so little damage? After all, only one man died and only six have tested positive for the actual disease.

A ton of firemen and public health officials have been zigzagging across New York and Washington, D.C. and God-knows-where-else investigating every pile of coffee creamer that spilled onto the floor.

It's true that so-called first responders are being unnecessarily harassed. A lot of people are frightened, but hey — what are we supposed to do? Not be afraid of a disease that will kill you in two days and that hasn't been seen in the U.S. more than 25 times in a whole century? Of course you should be afraid.

No one is counseling panic, not even me. But I do think that people ought to be vigilant, and that they ought to react with anger. Good old-fashioned, heathy anger is good.

People are already forgetting that 5,000 people died in the World Trade Center. When I rail about lobbing bombs into Afghanistan, I get emails from viewers whining about possibly killing innocents, insisting that possibility should stop us from bombing.

The hell it should! We should bomb. We had 5,000 innocents killed. We're going after the guilty, and guess what? Some innocent people are going to get hurt. Better to say, some more innocent people.

Same with the anthrax scare. If you were forgetting why we are stopping Middle Eastern-looking men, and checking their IDs, and looking into the trunks of their cars, remember anthrax. If you were wondering why I'm calling for pulling all visas for all people from terror countries , including Saudi Arabia and other countries that are supposed to be America's friends, remember anthrax. Remember they want to go at us with smallpox next. Remember they are trying to kill us.

So why are we being so damn nice to visitors from Middle Eastern countries? Why don't we cancel all student and tourist and business visas from those countries, and send those people home?

Some of their countrymen are trying to kill us, and until we can figure out which individuals are the guilty ones, don't we have to protect ourselves with a presumption of possible guilt?

It's radical, but everything changed after Sept. 11.

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