Wednesday, November 22, 2017
We claim to be winning the war on terrorism; and we base this claim on the fact that there have been relatively few significant terrorist acts in the recent past. (This does of course make a distinction between extremist/radical terrorism and homegrown domestic violence/terrorism – although the lines are becoming more and more blurred.)
But our sense of accomplishment and almost-victory is belied by reality. The bad guys – whatever their ilk – are in fact winning. To make my point, consider the following:
· Heavily armed law enforcement officials patrol downtown areas and sporting venues and public buildings and transportation hubs and election sites. The Super Bowl is classified as a National Security Event.
· The airplane experience has no resemblance to what it used to be: removing shoes, physical body searches, extensive baggage screening, waiting lines to enter plane areas and board are now the norm.
· The places we went to feel safe and to “get away from it all” – the movie theatres and restaurants and resorts and public parks and shopping malls are now the scenes of cruel and deadly attacks and murders. We now go armed to those places.
· The places we went for comfort and solace and healing and education – schools, churches, hospitals, day care centers, rehab facilities – are now places where the bad guys know they can prey upon the defenseless.
So with all these changes to the way we feel and the way we must now live, can we really say that we are “winning” the war on terrorism?
I think there is some comfort and consolation in knowing that bad events are still relatively infrequent. But I also think that we must never let our sense of comfort overshadow our sense of realization that we still live in an unpredictable and not-so-safe world.