An open letter to terrorists (or, pragmatism and the welfare state part II)


The Anarchist’s Cookbook 2.0

Dear terrorists,

It has come to my attention that you wish to destroy America. You attempt this with hijackings, with guns, with bombs, and with attacks on embassies.

You’re doing it wrong. Our guns are bigger than yours, our bombs are bigger than yours, and we have gigantic unmanned drones flying over your countries all the time. You’re going nowhere, fast. And as much as I disapprove of your aims, I want to let you in on a little secret.

If you win, it will not be because of something big. It will be because of something tiny. Something humble. We’re talking micrometers. The holes in our armor are small, but they are many, and we have proven too myopic a society to perceive them.

There are around 48 million uninsured people in the United States, and they are likely to remain uninsured despite the best efforts of reformers. We’ve also slashed $450,000,000 from the budgets of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And during these lean times, the one thing congress rallied to save was our air traffic control centers – our beloved airplanes, which can take a man with “just a bit of a cough” from New York to LA in five hours.

Have you heard the American expression “To hit someone where it hurts”?

It’s not hard to get these things, if you’re willing to settle for less than smallpox and anthrax. You just have to take something old-school like Myobacterium tuberculosis, Salmonella  enterica enterica, Streptococcus pneumoniae, or even Treponima palladium (syphilis) if you feel like adding a punchline, and bombard it with antibiotics until it becomes unstoppable. Have you ever been to a homeless shelter in an American city? It’s not like the airport. They don’t care if you have a beard. The vials of mystery goo in your pocket will go unnoticed.

That 24 hours that a Starbucks barista, a short-order cook, a school cafeteria worker – anyone who touches food, really – will wait to go to the doctor because they don’t have insurance and are dreading the expense – that’s your in. The Capitol building has janitors, you know. You’d have us right where you want us. We’d have no one to blame but ourselves, just like those Victorian people who died of cholera because they let the poor live in filth.

Please don’t take my advice.

An American

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