Sunday, September 18, 2011

Then and Now -- Security

When I was a child, we were undoubtedly the most powerful country in the world.  Our borders were safe.  The iron curtain existed, but posed no real threat.
It was not until I was 12 and the Cuban missiles were pointed at us that I first learned to be afraid.  That was the era of the fallout shelter.  A few people even in my little town in Florida dug them in their back yard in preparation for a nuclear attack.  But we prevailed against the Cubans and finally the iron curtain came down and we no longer felt threatened by the Soviets.
It was really not until the attacks of 9/11 that we realized we weren’t safe after all.  The events of that day ushered in a paranoia that continues to permeate American society.
I am convinced that we could repay the national debt if we had all the money that has subsequently gone into homeland security.  We have a new cabinet level agency for that purpose.  Our airports have taken on the air of a maximum security prison.  Our public buildings have all been fortified.  We have initiated profiling at every juncture (although we can’t call it that).  Our days are now color-coded to indicate the threat level.  All of this is supposed to assure the American public of their safety.
Meanwhile we wait for the next big attack and wonder where it will occur.  We hope the wiretaps will flush out the terrorists before they can unleash their latest weapons.  Or that some observant policeman will spot a smoking car before the bomb goes off.
And those of us who can remember wish we could return to a time when we weren’t so afraid of the world to come.


Blogger Kevin Wood said...

Then, Barbara, can I suggest you stop being afraid? Do you really want to live life afraid of every boogieman terrorist the government and media tells us is around each corner? The government has only been able to create this terror-industrial complex because Americans have bought into the lie that they should be scared.

Just stop it, already!

4:40 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Kevin -- Just when I start believing the heightened security level thing is a bunch of crap, there is a thwarted incident reported. Unfortunately sometimes the danger is very real.

6:33 PM  
Blogger Kevin Wood said...

Sometimes, there's a lot more to those reports than meets the eyes. See:

The FBI successfully thwarts its own Terrorist plot

The true definition of "Terrorist"

Even so, it appears that we'll have to disagree on what we should be afraid of. For example, I'm much more afraid of getting killed in a car accident on my way home than I am of terrorists. I also think I'm more likely to be injured by food poisoning at a restaurant than by a terrorist.
I'm not trying to say no threat exists, just that a little perspective is in order.

9:24 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Kevin -- All points well taken. I am definitely not one of those people who sees every airplane passenger as a potential terrorist. I have gone to Israel repeatedly knowing the chance of a terrorist attack is probably much greater there. And yet occasionally an incident like the smoking car in Time Square reminds me that terrorists actually do exist.

9:43 AM  

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