Rooney: Don't Be Afraid

<B>Andy Rooney</B> On How Concerned Americans Should Be About Homeland Security

The following is a weekly 60 Minutes commentary by correspondent Andy Rooney.

I don't normally take seriously what anyone called "Tommy" says. Of course, that's true of anyone called "Andy," too.

But I was interested in what Tommy Thompson, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, said recently: "I, for the life of me, cannot understand why the terrorists have not, you know, attacked our food supply, because it is so easy to do."

That seemed like such a dumb thing for an important person to say, but important people are always saying dumb things.

It just didn't seem necessary for him to remind our enemies of how easy it would be to kill a lot of us. It makes sense to have government agencies looking into the threats to our safety, and being scared is a useful human emotion, because it gets us to do something about the danger.

But there are hundreds of ways we could be attacked in the United States, and we shouldn't spend full time being scared about them.

This isn't the first time people in this country have been nervous, either.

When our kids were growing up in our small town in Connecticut, we had neighbors who were so worried about the Russians that they dug shelters in their backyards to be safe from atomic bombs. They stocked their shelters with water and canned food and planned to stay down there until the nuclear cloud disappeared.

Just two years ago, we had the great duct tape fiasco.

REPORTER: Homeland Security officials recommend citizens prepare disaster supply kits to include a three-day supply of water and food, flashlights, batteries and radios – even plastic sheeting and duct tape.

We all worry occasionally in the middle of the night about dying, but we still get up and enjoy breakfast in the morning. There's no sense being so afraid of dying that you commit suicide.

Relaxing is important, too. In World War II, I saw dog-tired GIs dug in no more than 100 yards from where the Germans were. It was dangerous, but at night, they fell asleep in their foxholes while one of the other guys kept watch. We ought to keep watch, but we shouldn't lose too much sleep.

What we ought to be spending more money on than bomb shelters is a major government program to make us less hated around the world.

We aren't bad people, and the rest of the world thinks we are bad. We ought to come up out of our bomb shelters and spend less money on weapons, and more on trying to change the minds of the people who hate us. That's the best way to keep them from trying to poison our food.

No one's funny all the time.
By Andy Rooney