International, War

Jim Gray: Terrorism and Liberty

Recently I heard a presentation at the Orange County Chapter of the World Affairs Council by a former assistant secretary for the Department of Homeland Security, who discussed the topic of terrorism.  Of course, we all want to be safe from the violence that terrorism often can bring, but we also must continue to be mindful of the threat that this desire for security can bring to our Liberty.  So it is a tradeoff.  My personal best example of how to deal with terrorism comes from the British during the “Battle of Britain,” in which Hell was literally raining down from the skies every day from Nazi bombers.  But did the British give up, play up themselves as victims, or generally complain?  No, as far as I know.  Instead the British took all reasonable precautions they could from the danger, listened for the warning sirens and, when they heard them, went down into the shelters they knew in advance were available.  And then, when the “all clear” came, they went back about their normal business.  As to the threat of terrorism today, we should follow the example of the British.

Why?  Because the goal of terrorists is to terrorize, which means they are trying to instill fear in us and change our lives as a result of their acts.  Thus if we run around scared and give up our Liberties and ways of life, the bad guys win!  Accordingly, we must understand, as our speaker reminded us, there are some threats for which we can reasonably prepare.  Those would come from people attempting to enter our country to do us harm, or who would send materials here for the same reason, or even communicate on the internet about recruiting others to perpetrate such acts.  But there are other possible destructive acts against which there is minimal protection.  Those would be from the “lone wolf” perpetrators, because they can be random and can literally come from anywhere.  And we should also bear in mind that many of the perpetrators are almost totally irrational in their thinking.  For example, our speaker told us the true story about a young man in the Middle East who had randomly killed several Americans.  When we captured him and asked him about his philosophy, he said he had none.  So why had he done this?  He said simply that he was paid to kill Americans.  When we asked how much, he said $50 per person.  What did he do with his money?  He saved it.  For what?  Because when he had enough, he wanted to come and live in America.  How can one combat “logic” like that?  So, on the subject of terrorism, the best approach is to cooperate with the proper authorities if we happen to see something suspicious, and otherwise try to prepare.  But we also must preserve and protect our precious Liberties.  Because it is exactly those Liberties that make us what and who we are: they are literally the soul of the United States of America – and we must treat them as such!

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