Gratefully, we have been able to live through nearly 12 years since the last major act of terrorism on American soil. Our lives were irrevocably changed after 9/11 due to the various security measures and investigative powers that our government put in place. And we are likely to see major changes to our daily lives once again.
From security changes while we fly to the various new ways the government can use Patriot Act to look into all of our lives, we accepted many new inconveniences in our lives to keep us safe after 9/11.
After the tragedy in Boston, it’s easy to wonder how this latest act of terrorism will impact all of our daily lives.
Assuredly, the Boston Marathon and events like it will never be the same regarding security at finish lines and throughout race courses. But it most certainly won’t stop there.
It struck me on Monday how many witnesses of the bombings said this was something they would expect hearing about in Iraq or the Middle East, but would never consider it happening here. I am confident that many people thought the same thing when they heard the news of the bombings.
But this remark may tell us more about our future that we may know. Are we headed to a far more invasive and stringent public culture in order to keep us safe?
I don’t think this particular tragedy will trigger wholesale changes in our daily lives that will make us feel like it does in downtown Baghdad or Tel Aviv. However, striking the balance between where we were before Monday as a country and where we need to be to avoid another tragic event like this, is more difficult than it may look.
In a time like this, we turn to our elected leaders to make changes and keep us safe. If they were to do nothing in response to this tragedy, we would punish these same elected leaders at the ballot box next year. So from the federal to the state level, lawmakers will be motivated to do something.
And while some increased security measures may be able to be augmented, and we may find some loopholes in the system once the investigation continues, how many changes will be acceptable to the general public? At one point, how do we collectively say enough is enough?
It’s not like common sense always rules the day in situations where you are trying to make something safer. TSA officers still frisk random grandmothers at the airport. The Patriot Act gave our government sweeping powers of surveillance that I am confident most of us do not truly even comprehend.
Striving for that balance between needed changes and going overboard is not usually our forte in the post 9/11 world. Watching tragedies like we did on Monday make us justify overreaching on security so we can potentially save lives in the future.
But if we are going to protect America and persevere after terrorists work to destroy everything we hold sacred, we must, in the end, hold something sacred. I’m not here to say it is easy, but nothing worth it is.
There are many things we can do to honor the victims of the Boston tragedy. But after the vigils and the tributes, we must remember to honor them by protecting the freedoms that make our country great. To do anything less would be un-American.
About The Blogger
- Dominic Dezzutti, producer of the Colorado Decides debate series, a co-production of CBS4 and Colorado Public Television, looks at the local and national political scene in his CBSDenver.com blog. Read new entries here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Dezzutti writes about federal, state and local matters and how our elected leaders are handling the issues important to Colorado. Dezzutti also produces and hosts the Emmy winning Colorado Inside Out on Colorado Public Television.