…the images and sounds still evoke anger.
But the government still isn’t serious.
I know that sounds somewhat incredible, and I suppose it deserves some qualification.
Ten years after muslim terrorists boarded commercial flights determined to use jetliners as weapons, our government is still no more serious than it was then about preventing terrorists from committing horrific acts on U.S. soil.
Sure, they have instituted no-fly lists, and installed intrusive and constitutionally questionable devices designed to make those who are inclined to obey the law and not be murderous asshats to surrender both personal privacy and dignity before we are allowed to board our flights to all parts of the country. The government has created a whole new agency to guard these check points and feel up passengers, and to do so in a heavy-handed fashion. It has also stepped up its scrutiny of citizens, and issued warnings about those who have served this country and would object to having the weight of a security and intelligence apparatus meant to prevent those who are foreign to us in every single significant way fall most heavily on those it was meant to protect.
At the same time, our borders are no more secure than they were on 9/11. Illegal immigrants still spill over our borders, making some parts of the US no-go zones, not just for normal citizens, but for law enforcement as well. And it makes me very angry.
While I believe and support the idea that “fighting them there” in Iraq and Afghanistan decreased the likelihood of “fighting them here”, the fact remains that we still face people who are not only willing to kill us because we refuse to adopt their backward way of viewing the world, but they are also willing to kill themselves to accomplish it. That makes them immeasurably dangerous, and opens up avenues of attack that are unthinkable for people who want to live again to fight another day.
When I look around today, I see that just like that day 10 years ago when the skies fell silent, save for the F-16s flying over head, many of our softest targets are still very soft and very vulnerable. As a parent of two school-age children, I can’t tell you how much this distresses me. Although I’ve struggled with it in the last two decades, I have always been able to “dream really dark”, and I see no limits on what a handful of determined, bloody-minded suicide killers could accomplish with the right weapon and a little bit of planning. Beslan isn’t the worst thing that could happen to a school full of children, and it gives me no joy to say that.
The terrorists won ten years ago.
I hate typing that more than you hate reading that. But consider this: They managed to change everything about a routine part of the day for millions of Americans that we took for granted and was a symbol of our freedom…the ability to travel freely in our own country. They managed to make an entire nation willingly surrender its privacy and dignity for what has already been proven to be the illusion of security, and spend a great deal of its own resources in installing and maintaining this illusion, while empowering malefactors who are supposed to work for us in promoting an agenda against people who object to government having such powers in the first place.
It isn’t so much a border as it is a sieve, and sadly, it won’t take much for the next attack to bring horrors that will shatter the senses of people who believe themselves protected from such things. Even more sad is the degree of liberty that they will surrender in the wake of such an event to a government all to willing to accept that sacrifice to “make us safe”.