Are we really safe?

July 11, 2005, midnight | By Alexis Egan | 18 years, 11 months ago

Terrorist attacks in London raise questions in the United States

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

Even though these words were spoken nearly 250 years ago by Benjamin Franklin, they hold just as true today. In light of the recent terrorist attacks in London, it is reasonable to assume that more changes will be made to American security.

But what else can we do? Haven't we already given away many rights, possibly even our constitutional rights, under the Patriot Act? Doesn't our nation unofficially support racial profiling in airports? If these immoral measures are options for the United States government, what hope do we have for the future?

Even as these questions run through our minds, changes are occurring that concern our national security. The attacks on London, which were likely the work of al Qaeda, killed over 50 people, prompting action by the United States. Just days after the attacks President George Bush offered his condolences and advice to the British. On a weekly radio address, he discussed national security as well as the resiliency of the British. "This week, there is great suffering in the city of London. Yet the British people are resilient," he said.

The attacks have spurred various responses from both Democrats and Republicans. Brian Kilmeage of Fox News said that the attacks work to "the Western world's advantage, for people to experience something like this together," suggesting that the crisis will bring nations together in the War on Terror.

According to Reuters AlertNet, the Democrats have always "pushed for spending more money on security for domestic transit other than airlines." Several Democrats, lead by Senator Joe Biden (DE), will soon propose a bill in Congress that will increase the funding of railway security to $1.2 billion. "I can honestly not think of any higher priority," Biden said recently.

Junior Bao Ngoc Nguyen was one of many Blazers who were shocked by the suddenness of the London attacks and unnerved by the possibility that the United States might be next. "I got kind of worried about what might happen in the U.S. soon," she said, adding that "security in London, or any other area, isn't as tight as it should be."

Ngoc Nguyen and her family were so concerned about the possible risk that she was not allowed to ride the bus to work and instead was driven by her parents. Many other families in the D.C. area were considerably worried by the attack, especially when the terrorist threat level was raised to "orange", signaling a high threat of terrorist attacks. Ngoc Nguyen's feelings are common, particularly when one wonders if the attacks could have been prevented.

The attacks have brought up several controversial topics in the minds of Americans. Many are worried that, despite the billions of dollars that the Bush Administration has invested in national security, attacks similar to those in London could easily happen in the United States. Increasing security on public transportation, as Democrats have suggested, is a possibility.

However, increasing security would require an increase in funding and might be difficult to achieve. In addition to the budget issues, another increase in American security spending isn't feasible. A major reason why the U.S. has a prosperous economy is due the successful transportation system, which quickly and cheaply allows citizens to travel to work everyday. While the addition of baggage checks and metal detectors might reduce the threat of terrorism, it would considerably slow down buses and subways so much that it would be impossible to use public transportation daily.

"They can't always search everything and everyone all day long," said Ngoc Nguyen. "They probably should, but it's just unrealistic to do that."

Alexis Egan. Alexis is a (very) short junior, who is very pleased to be writing for Chips Online with all her friends. Along with writing, her other hobbies are playing soccer, reading about Mount Everest and listening to any Irish music. Her favorite movie is The Princess … More »

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