Terrorism's Untapped Potential


THIS SUMMER I paid to enclose my body within a multiton metal capsule that was then elevated 10,000 feet above New York City. I did this with the hope that, somehow, it wouldn't fall before it got to London. All this at a time when Iranian Fundamentalists were vowing to wreak immeasurable harm on people of my national persuasion. How irksome.

As a passenger, it is bad enough having to worry about how an airplane--an object clearly heavier than air even without the usual stock of complementary drinks--can possibly stay aloft longer than a football (which is an object lighter than an airplane, though considerably less comfortable for long journeys). But now there is the additional problem of an enemy not particularly deterred by the prospect of his demise.

SO HOW then to wage war? Kill them? No, as I said--that would be playing into their hands. We can't simply ignore them, however, because they would still find it desirable to kill us, and we, as is well known, find death repugnant at best, especially before the television season has formally concluded.

Perhaps we should set them up in nice suburban homes with high-paying Wall Street jobs and doting spouses in the hope that they will eventually assimilate themselves into our culture. No, even war has rules about ferocity.

It is clear that we are left with one answer--make peace with the terrorist army and then, as a friendly act, kill them. We will offer martyrdom as a token of good will. Finally after all these years we will be able to put aside our differences and arrive at a mutually benefical conclusion to the many years of fruitless combat.


It will doubtless be many days before an acceptable bipartisan agreement such as my proposal will even make it to the negotiating tables. Until that time comes, if we cannot solve the terrorist problem, maybe we can at least take advantage of it.

THE INTERNATIONAL media exposure of a terrorist victim is something no American can ignore. Walking off the airplane when you are freed from treacherous captivity, the eyes of the world examine your every move. Imagine, after a long period as a hostage, finally being released to the free world wearing an "Adidas" T-shirt with "Coke Classic" labels prominently affixed to your shoulders. Imagine bucks.

Thousands of microphones are thrust at your face as you emerge wearily from the airplane and look at the camera, "It was a horrible ordeal, I'm just glad its over. All I want now is a nice pair of Adidas sweat pants, which can be purchased this week only at Woolworth's for their special low- low- low- price, and of course a great big Coke Classic. It's the real thing. It's it. Mmmmm... is that Stove Top Stuffing I smell? Mmmmm... Sure beats potatoes!"

You quickly flash your lawyer's telephone number to signal prospective advertisers that you are fully prepared to deal for personal endorsements during the ensuing months of media hounding that will inevitably follow your "tragedy." Terrorism is a modern capitalist's dream.

Grief-stricken families are blessed with perhaps the most extensive media attention, so victims can charge far more in case of their death--to be paid to their estates of course. Reporters love to surround parents who have had children recently slain, probing the emotional impact of the story in a sensitive yet hard-hitting manner:

"How do you feel now that your only child has just been killed? Are you sad?"

Organizations such as the NRA will pay exorbitant sums to capture these precious moments of prime time...

Camera on an hysterical mother blowing her nose in a hankerchief, revealing her sorrow to good Americans everywhere:

"...oh, sob sob! If only Johnny's fundamental right as an American--the right to bear arms--wasn't violated by those Airline Security Socialist Communists, he would have been prepared! Oh, sob! He was planning to pack his automatic weaponry, but the pinkos had to have it their way!"

She blows her nose into her hankerchief and looks up as the camera zooms dramatically close to her tear-basted face.

"Only outlaws had guns on that plane! Sob! And he was such a good boy..."

Fade to white letters on black:

"The NRA. Because if all passengers had guns, there would simply be no problem, now would there?"