You can find "security" in your dictionary in between secundines and sedan. You can also find security when you are six feet under and pushing up daisies.
If you think your government can give you security, think again. Throughout history, the greatest enemies of personal security have been governments. But do we learn from history? Of course not. This is why so many Americans are turning to Washington to protect them in the aftermath of the horrors of September 11. The notion of "the land of the free and the home of the brave" has been relegated to little more than a ritual before sporting events.
My fellow freedom fighter, Mary Lou Seymour, wrote the following in response to the clamor for the feds to make us feel safer:
"Airport 'security' has been tightened so we passengers can't even take a nail file on board. Despite pleas from pilots and the public, neither pilots, crews nor passengers can be armed with anything more 'dangerous' than a ballpoint pen. It will be 'months' before 'armed sky marshals' are available for every flight. Meanwhile the National Guard will guard the airports on the ground. Yesterday our glorious leader gives the Air Force 'authority' to shoot down any commercial planes it believes have been hijacked and then urges Americans to 'fly around America and see our glorious sights' (paraphrased). So. To 'fly around and see the sights, we must go through a National Guard armed camp, be subjected to interminable 'security checks', and board the plane unarmed. But, if anything happens while we're aloft, we better 'take care of it' ourselves, armed or not, cause if we don't the Air Force will shoot us down."
The passengers of United Air Lines Flight 93 who thwarted hijackers' efforts to fly the plane into either the White House or the Capitol were true heroes. The always-quotable Vin Suprynowicz said these passengers were simply doing their duty as part of the citizen militia that the Founders envisioned. Sadly, these latter day Minutemen were denied the use of arms.
Disarming law-abiding citizens and leaving them defenseless against lunatics who couldn't give a flying rip about laws accomplishes nothing. Turning schools into gun-free zones gave us Columbine. Turning airplanes into gun-free zones gave us September 11.
All the passenger disarmament in the world will not guarantee against another such tragedy. There are plenty of ways to kill large numbers of people and foment widespread rioting and panic. In a superlative column this past week, John Keller outlines numerous potential terrorist scenarios, which no law will prevent. Oh sure, we could pass prophylactic measures from now until Hell freezes, but would anyone want to live in such a totalitarian society?
Passions and emotions run high in the aftermath of traumatizing events, be they political or personal. However, in the long term, cool headedness and reason must override raw emotion. Turning this nation into a police state is not going to make us safe.
In the last few weeks, President Bush has taken many pages from the Roosevelt-Clinton playbook. From the airline bailout to his authoritarian creation of the Department of Homeland Security, he has taken the principle of if-it-sounds-good-do-it to the next level. And for what?
How secure has your government ever made you feel? Do you feel secure knowing that half of your income is stolen from you before you can even buy groceries? Do you feel secure knowing that the tax police know all kinds of things about you that you would not even divulge to your best friend? Do you feel secure knowing that the drug that you may one day need to save your life -- and which is saving thousands of lives in other countries -- may be banned by the FDA? Do women feel secure walking home alone at night -- even in affluent suburbs -- notwithstanding the 20,000 gun laws on the books in this country? Do you feel secure about your children's future knowing that their education is in the hands of bureaucrats thousands of miles away how do not even know your children's names? Do you feel secure when your nation has troops in dozens of nations around the globe, while lower Manhattan and Arlington, Virginia, are naked in the face of terrorists? Then why is there such clamor for greater federal intrusion in every aspect of our lives in the name of "security"?
How "secure" would you feel as a subject of the Nazis? The Soviets? The ChiComs? The Cambodian Khmer Rouge? Of Papa Fidel in Cuber? Of Kim Jong-Il, the fat little playboy psychopath in North Korea who is every bit as paranoid as the Taliban? As Barry Goldwater once said, a government that gives you everything you want, must take away everything you have.
In the days following September 11, churches across America were filled like never before. When your biggest worry is sluggish growth in your stock portfolio, you still think you are in control. When your nation is attacked, and the death toll is more than twice that of Pearl Harbor, you start looking for answers where you have never looked before.
Had I been in the pulpit on September 16, I would have discussed in great detail the only source of lasting security. Jesus says in Matthew 6:25-34, that we should not worry about tomorrow. We have a God who knows what we need and if we "seek first his kingdom and his righteousness" we will have these things. God will not always prevent bad things from happening to us, but he will be with us through trying times if we only place our faith in him. He never tells us to run to Caesar when things get tough.
Yet Christians are running to the kingdom of man for security, and believing everything the politicians tell them. (A lot of these politicians are professing Christians.) On September 11, we witnessed the failure of the CIA, FBI, INS, BATF, FAA, NTSB and every other agency of the kingdom of man to protect us. Why now are we placing unlimited faith in this kingdom?
The masterminds of the horrors of September 11 have to be ecstatic as they watch us relinquish our freedoms. They hate our personal and economic freedom and they hate Christianity and Judaism. We are fearful, panicked, and willing to place our faith everywhere but where God tells us to place it. Unless we change our ways, the terrorists will have us right where they want us.
Freely Speaking: Speeches and Essays by Doug Newman
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