Do you feel safer? Fifty years ago we started a War on Poverty; we have more poor today than we did fifty years ago. We started a War on Drugs and more people use drugs today than when the war started. The Patriot Act was a bad idea when it was first proposed and it still is today. America’s cities with the most restrictive gun laws, designed to keep guns from the hands of criminals; also lead the nation in gun violence (Chicago, Detroit, Washington D.C. just to name three).
We pass laws which make parents criminals for disciplining their children in an attempt to stop child abuse. We have more child abuse, and more out of control children. Anthony Pasquale’s daughter was brutally murdered for her bicycle and he is going to sue the murder’s parent for raising a murder. But the boy’s mother blames the “system” for not providing him with the help he needs.
We increase the numbers of law enforcement to deal with rising crime. Yet, today an officer pulled over my “Big Sister” to give her a ticket for talking on her cell phone while driving. Yes, that is the reason he told her he pulled her over. When she told him she does not own a cell phone, he replied, “Have a nice day ma’am.” Yet on the same day an officer in West Virginia was “fishing for dollars for city coffers,” an officer in Pennsylvania was gunned down in the line of duty. Another dad who will never live to see his children graduate from school.
The list goes on. We are always passing laws to end this or curb that, only to see the opposite happen. We have increased security to the point of being ridicules in some areas, and yet it is even easier than ever before to get into this country.
Do you feel safer? I do not. I feel more controlled, more restricted; I feel we live in a time where citizens are encouraged to “spy on” each other. Hey, if you report someone for something you don’t like or that can be twisted into something “suspicious” you can end up on the news and get your “15 minutes of fame” that Andy Warhol talked about.
The NSA has all your texts, cell phone conversations, e-mails, and on-line activities, but they still can’t seem to stop the terrorists. You can’t take a bottle of water on a plane because it might be a bomb, but you can throw it out in that trash can by the TSA desk. Do I feel safer? No, if anything I feel more threatened.
I believe the one bright spot in the War on Terror is that after thirteen years, we finally discovered we are better off supplying support to the Kurds and others who are fighting our enemies. They need weapons, training, supplies, and air support, and we are providing these things. When we put our own men and women in the field of battle we give them Rules of Engagement that more harmful to our own troops than to the enemy; and then we are appalled at the body count of our own troops. Fortunately, the Kurds do not operate under Rules of Engagement that are more dangerous to their own people than to the enemy. The Kurds are fighting for their homeland and their very lives. They will meet ISIL head-on and they will fight to defeat ISIL. The Kurds are not worried about “bad press,” they are worried about their wives and children being safe – they fight to survive.
Are we safer today than on September 11, 2001? I do not believe we are, I do not feel safer. But, there is hope. We did finally learn how to use our military in the War on Terror. Now, if the rest of our government could get their act together, we might actually be safer – in another thirteen years.
This article is a little bit more negative than I usually write, but I think it is time we “step up to the plate.” Just passing laws does not make anyone safer, ask the families of people who had protection orders against the persons who eventually murdered them. I do want to end this morning on a more positive note, so without further adu here are Jeannette Bellesfield’s words on September 11.