Stolen Car?

Most new cars these days come equppped with an anti-theft alarm. You have no choice but to buy the installed device. The intent is to protect your car by sounding an alarm if anyone tampers with it. 

But what do you assume when you hear one of these alarms going off? Do you assume a robbery in progress and call the police? Heavens no. We hear the damn things so regularly that we hardly notice, much less doing anything about it.

No study has ever shown that these devices actually reduce auto theft. Their warnings are totally ignored, and even if they weren’t, any car thief knows how to defeat them. There are now a collection of organizations making efforts to have the devices banned as a public nuisance. I would not count on the success of such efforts. Any thing that promises to add to our security is an easy sell these days, whether it makes any sense or not.

Eisenhower warned of the excessive influence of a “military/industrial complex.”  Two additional elements have been added to this threat.  One is a security industry that thrives on the fact that any promise of dealing with a perceived threat is given a blank check. The second element is that the blank check writers are our politicians who owe their jobs and allegience to this same industry.

We seem to be surrounded and engulfed by threats, some real and many imagined. Warnings are everywhere. Every product we buy seems to hold danger, judging by the warning labels and the pages of dangers described in the user manuals. Warning signs frown at us from roads, parks, workplaces, stores, schools, hospitals. The media and entertainment industries report or imagine the worst that can be imagined in gory detail. Security cameras spy on us, often unseen. Airports swarm with police and security personnel. We are told to be on the lookout for suspicious behavior and report it on the tip line.

And yet, as a whole, most Americans manage to live fairly peaceful lives. Although told that we have much to fear, we manage not to be so fearful. How do we manage?

It is much like the car alarms. We grow used to it and learn to ignore it like the political rhetoric that much of it actually is. Scare tactics have a diminishing return. And that is good, I suppose. Otherwise we would live in fear all our lives.

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