Stop being terrorized.
We will never completely eliminate acts like the bombing at the Boston Marathon from society. Hate-filled people can find as many ways to inflict death and destruction as they can find reasons to hate. But we can control the way we react to such relatively isolated events.
We don’t have to bow down in fear and terror.
Last week, a 19-year-old boy brought a major U.S. city to its knees. We can debate whether the response was warranted, but if the bombers’ aim was to incite terror, they succeeded in their plan.
And they will extend that victory if we allow emotions stirred during this tragedy to drive our decision making in the coming weeks.
Emotion does not lend itself to good decision making.
Several years ago, I was driving form Kentucky to Florida. I was already testy because I had to drive about 200 miles out of my way to avoid a forest fire. Then, well after midnight, my car died along a lonely stretch of US-19 just north of Crystal River. I yelled. I pounded the steering wheel. Then I yanked the keys out of the ignition and hurled them at the dashboard. They bounced up and hit the windshield.
Bad decision-making in an emotional moment.
Today, I see this same raw emotion driving discussion about Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. I’ve read calls to declare him an enemy combatant so as to avoid a trial in court. I’ve seen Facebook comments suggesting the feds should torture Tsarnaev so they can find out what he knows. I’ve even heard talk of summary execution, since we all know he’s guilty.
I understand this from an emotional point of view. But do we really want to make decisions in the heat of the moment that will set the precedent for future government responses? What happens when these responses become routine law enforcement procedure? You won’t have grounds to complain. You gave them permission.
I’ve already received an email from a concerned state representative sponsoring a bill blocking NDAA detention provisions.
“I was wondering if the things that happened in Boston and related activities/searches in the future are going to have a negative impact on my bill and others like it across the nation.”
Sadly, probably so.
Those who favor granting the government power to indefinitely detain “terrorists” without due process will point to the events in Boston and say, “See! We need these powers.”
Just like those favoring gun control pointed to the horrible shootings at Sandy Hook to tell us, “See! We need to ban guns.”
The Bill of Rights was written for times such as these – to protect the people from expanding government power and violations of basic rights during moments of emotional upheaval.
Every individual has a natural right to due process.
Every individual has a natural right to keep and bear arms for self-defense.
Those clamoring to deny Dzhokhar Tsarnaev basic due process rights and justifying over-the-top law enforcement tactics during the search should stop and think carefully about what they support. Because if his actions justify suspension of the Fourth and Fifth Amendments, maybe Sandy Hook really does justify banning guns. And maybe “terror groups” posting on the Internet justify restricting freedom of speech. And maybe cops should have the authority to just barge into your home locked and loaded without a warrant or your consent.
And maybe we should just replace the Stars and Stripes with the flag of terror.
Or, we can stop being terrorized and hold fast to our founding principles – those fundamental values that make America truly great.
That’s how we defeat the “terrorists.”
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