While the cat's away, the terrorists will play
By Nancy Salvato
Now that the present administration's 150 billion dollar economic stimulus package has caused a substantial portion of the population worry about the economy taking a nosedive and an ensuing recession, there is less incentive to discuss the more immediate threat of securing our borders from those who mean to cause our country substantial harm. While growing the economy is extremely important to maintaining the many comforts to which we've become accustomed, an incredibly large amount of damage can come to our economic well being from one well planned terrorist attack aimed at harming our infrastructure.
I recently read a human interest story about a cat that climbed into a piece of luggage. This animal was not discovered while going through security. Worse still, this particular piece of luggage was picked up at the terminal by a person who mistakenly thought it was his own. Upon returning to his house, he opened the suitcase and out popped the cat. Discovering his mistake, he called the owner and returned both the cat and suitcase. While this is a wonderful story about the cat's survival and the integrity of the person who made good, there was no mention of the bigger implications of an airport security system that clearly failed. Certainly, I am questioning the effectiveness of any and all the security measures we've willingly endured since 9/11.
It is true, that if a terrorist cares not about his or her own life, then a suicide attack will be fairly effective no matter what measures are taken to protect the populace. Such a targeted strike can occur almost anywhere. We can accept this reality and ignore it or we can accept this reality and take measures so that there is a lesser likelihood that this will occur. Safety measures have been taken at O'Hare Airport in Chicago, cars cannot sit curbside unless a passenger is actually being dropped off or picked up. Passengers and their belongings are forced to endure metal detectors and x-ray machines to help prevent the possibility of weapons being smuggled aboard an airplane. But how effective are these measures when a cat isn't detected and when such measures are not in place for the cargo holds or transporting of dead bodies? If we are willing to spend 150 million to stimulate the economy, we should be willing to spend 150 million to put into place additional measures to make our nation more secure.
To begin, let's start with ourselves. Instead of teaching future generations that they are entitled to the wealth of this country, that "choice" is an acceptable consequence of an unplanned pregnancy, and that being young and beautiful is more important that using the gift of intelligence and kindness in this world, our priorities need to become more grounded. It is well understood that when a person works hard and is taught the value of human life, integrity, and compassion, that person will become a contributing member of society. The likelihood is there will be no run-ins with the law and a person raised in this fashion will enhance the quality of life of those he or she touches. Within our own country, we need to emphasize and model these values in our public and private institutions. We need to place a priority on the importance of love, honor, and respect in families. We need to secure to the best of our ability everyone's right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness and balance that against what it means to be a contributing and participating member of a community.
The reason our Constitution works is because everyone who lives by the rule of law understands that there is no other law that takes precedence. Church and State are separate. Those who would place Sharia Law above our Constitution should not be able to live here as citizens. They can visit, but they cannot change the structure of our governing system or ask to be treated differently.
Outside of ourselves, we can place a high priority on accepted measures of right and wrong and ensure that those who violate these standards are made to pay the consequences; consequences should be meaningful and serve to detract people from breaking the law. Entertainers, people with money and influence, and even elected officials should not receive a pass when driving under the influence, stealing documents from the National Archives, or committing perjury under oath. These might be considered soft crimes but can be just as damaging as when terrorists succeed in detonating themselves in front of soft targets.
I'm all for immigration, in which people who want to take advantage of all the opportunities offered in this fantastic country become citizens. Illegal aliens damage our system of law. "For employers, the chief threat in illegal immigration is that it reduces their ability to conduct effective due diligence investigations — one of the most important tools in protective security efforts." (Stratfor) As long as our elected officials, our law officials, and significant numbers are willing to look the other way with this particular crime, there is a greater likelihood that unsavory characters, such as "Angel Maturino Resendiz, a serial rapist and killer who illegally entered the United States several times," or "Lee Boyd Malvo (also known as John Lee Malvo), who confessed to a role in the 2002 sniper attacks in Washington, D.C., entered the United States illegally from Jamaica;" and "Abdel Basit (more widely known as Ramzi Yousef) was an illegal alien who came from Pakistan in order to carry out the 1993 World Trade Center bombing" can enter our borders. Illegal immigration contributes to identity fraud and a substantial amount of crime geared toward individuals.
It is unrealistic to expect that our law enforcement is capable of securing our trains and subway stations, our bus terminals, our shopping malls, or other places where mass amounts of people can be targeted. But we can take our rule of law and the values upon which it is founded more seriously. By doing so, we are taking more responsibility in our role as citizens and can help stave off some of the potential terrorist attacks and lower the threat to our overall security. Getting back to the human interest story, while a cat has 9 lives, each of us has only one. Are you willing to unnecessarily risk yours or those of your loved ones?
Nancy Salvato is the President and Director of Education and the Constitutional Literacy Program for Basics Project, a non-profit, non-partisan 501 (C) (3) research and educational project whose mission is to re-introduce the American public to the basic elements of our constitutional heritage while providing non-partisan, fact-based information on relevant socio-political issues important to our country, specifically the threats of aggressive Islamofascism and the American Fifth Column. She serves as a Senior Editor for The New Media Journal. She is also a staff writer, for the New Media Alliance, Inc., a non-profit (501c3) coalition of writers and grass-roots media outlets, and a frequent contributing writer to The World & I educational magazine.