Failsafe

I just sent the following letter to the Boston Globe
after reading Elaine Scarry’s excellent piece Failsafe!:


Congratulations on having the bravery to publish Elaine
Scarry’s “Failsafe”. She is right to point out that distributed
threats require distributed countermeasures. She is right to point out
that centralized defense of the U.S. massively failed us. She is
right to point out that the founders of the U.S. envisioned citizens,
not standing armies, as the backbone of the nation’s defense.

After all that argument and build-up, it is only unfortunate
that she stopped short of the logical conclusion: that to prevent
future hijackings, the logical course is to arm the passengers.

The extension to other situations involving crime, terrorism, and
politics (insofar as the three are distinguishable at all) is left
as an exercise for the reader.

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