By: JP Chabot
BOSTON: “We live in a free society where anyone could attack us at any time. But we also live in a world where those freedoms allow us to come together and heal.”
“If we give in to fear, the terrorists win.”
That’s a worn-out cliché by now, but it’s even more applicable than it used to be.
The greatest threat terrorists can bring is to scare us into thinking that we need to tear apart our own constitution in order to shield ourselves.
We live in a free society where anyone could attack us at any time. But we also live in a world where those freedoms allow us to come together and heal.
The Boston Marathon bombers attacked a public function using free public access against the people, but that same day the Red Cross reported that it had more blood donors than it could use, with volunteer doctors pulling overnight duty helping the victims.
There was an overwhelming outpouring of support for Boston from the country at large, and through Internet crowd sourcing. The entire city assisted in the identification and capture of the suspects.
We are already doing everything we can to ensure attacks like this cannot happen easily and short of equipping every citizen with a personal bomb-sniffing dog, they can still happen.
What matters is whether or not we let the fear of such events trick us into destroying our way of life through suspicion and paranoia.
Terrorists accomplished this in the past; after 9/11, the rights-stomping Patriot Act was passed and we went to war in a couple of countries on flimsy pretenses.
America almost transformed into something completely un-American in reaction to the tragedy (echoing McCarthyism and Japanese-American internment camps of the past), and it has yet to fully recover from the consequences of those decisions.
Ultimately, many of the “extra measures” resulted in no appreciable improvement in our daily lives.
Going even further, transforming America into a police state where everyone is watched would not make us safer, but it would make us miserable.
Americans can be their own worst enemies, but only if they treat each other as their own worst enemies.
Our ability to cooperate and mesh with one another is our greatest strength.
This time around, the news media has been noticeably more cautious about jumping
to conclusions, and the public in general emphasized cool-headed thinking over demonization of phantom enemies or scapegoat ethnic groups.
We’re capable of much more than knee-jerk paranoia, and that is why we saw both the worst and the best of America on Patriot’s Day.