The last few weeks have been trying times for everyone. With all due respect to those who lost loved ones in the terrible tragedies on September 11, 2001, “terrorists” are an extreme nuisance for most of us. A few hundred can “disappear” in a population of 280 million. If a localized act can produce widespread fear (that’s their objective), the terrorists win — big-time. By the way, I consider “street criminals” to be terrorists, too. I hope that the new “war” punishes them too.
Some things we may have to give up (for a while, at least):
- Tolerating unusual behaviors (of strangers especially) — they are suspects
- Innocent ethnic humor — that just encourages hate criminals
- Freedom to carry some possessions — almost anything might be (or might seem to conceal) a weapon
- Ridiculing “tattletales” and “whistle-blowers”– they will be our “early warning” system
- Not getting involved — that enables terrorists to be successful
You can think of more, I’m sure.
A worry that I have expressed for many years is that our society may be too expensive to maintain if a “policeman” must be stationed “on every corner.” We thrive on the belief that those around us are basically “good,” at least no threat to us. That assumption has been called into question again on September 11. How do we avoid paranoia? Consider how arrogant it is for most of to believe that we are important enough to be a target? Most of us have about the same probability of being an innocent victim of terrorism as we have of winning a big lottery prize. It is more likely that substantially more people will be injured or killed in auto crashes in any year than will be victims of terrorism, but we don’t restrict auto use much (yet anyway).
We haven’t seen as much public support for patriotism since the end of World War II. It’s refreshing to see people honoring the flag, for a change. Praying is acceptable, even encouraged, again. How ironic — that terrorists, in just a few hours, have been able to produce the positive attitudes of patriotism and reverence that our politicians, clergy, educators, and parents couldn’t do over the last 40 years.
Let’s get back to business, if not as usual, at least as it should be.