Jim Thompson
Jim Thompson
By Jim Thompson
HCP columnist

(• Editor’s note: Mr. Thompson submitted this column prior to the recent Houthi drone attack on a Saudi Arabia oil refinery.)

The average politician and member of society are all too frequently guilty of looking in the rear-view mirror.

We recently observed the 18th anniversary of the terrorists’ bombings of 9/11. If you are old enough to remember a world before that date, life seemed so innocent then as compared to now. I fear that our current obsession with mere firearms is going to look the same one of these days when from today’s perspective, an unimaginable attack occurs against innocent civilians.

The reality, and the issue far more important to deal with than who has an AR-15, is simply this: The means to carry out mass attacks becomes cheaper and easier every day.

Timothy McVeigh used a rental truck and commonly acquired fertilizer and diesel fuel. The terrorists of 9/11 used airplanes (not so cheap).

On the horizon, we have drone crop dusters. I have already – five years ago – seen one built by Yamaha which holds about 50 gallons of material. It was a demo only at a drone trade show. They are not legal here yet. But when they are legal, fill it with a solution of fentanyl and fly it down Broadway in Manhattan – deaths will be in the millions. We’ll be lucky if there is someone handy with a rifle who can shoot it out of the sky.

Fentanyl is everywhere. I am reading cautions that mothers who are going to put their children in the child seat on a grocery cart should wipe down the handle of that cart because it may have enough fentanyl on its surface to cause the child serious harm, and it was inadvertently placed there by an unthinking drug user.

Of course, one way to mitigate the risk would be for people on a mass basis to change their hearts so they want to be helpful to their fellow human, not belligerent or non-caring.

Unless we have a nationwide, old-fashioned revival, that doesn’t seem likely.

So, we are going to have to learn how to defend ourselves on a one-on-one basis. Does that mean walking around with a gas mask and a gun? That doesn’t seem to be a practical option. Do we have metal detectors everywhere, even more so than we have now? Likewise, not practical.

We are at a real crossroads.

Forget all the subjects we usually fret over (global warming, guns, earthquakes, hurricanes and so forth). Humankind has become too efficient at producing death and destruction on command.

I don’t have an answer, I merely have a caution.

We have got to stop looking in the past and start looking at the future. Cheap mass destruction is available at your local store or delivered overnight. I hesitate to list other ways I have thought of or read about which could be used to do this.

I don’t want to be responsible for giving miscreants ideas. I’ll merely say the possibilities are endless; and they are now, not in the future.

We can begin to see how prescient George Orwell was in “1984.” He was just a bit early with his predictions.

Jim Thompson, formerly of Marshall, is a graduate of Hillsboro High School and the University of Cincinnati. He resides in Duluth, Ga. and is a columnist for The Highland County Press. He may be reached at jthompson@taii.com.