Opinion: weighing freedom v. terror

In recent weeks people have come out against the terrorist attacks in France. Usually after such attacks, people come out and condemn the persons who perpetrate the acts.

They call them mad men, sometimes terrorists. Politicians decry the use of this deadly force against innocents.

But tragedy like this tends to make people do things that they might not do otherwise.

It makes it easier to pass laws that might otherwise not of been passed.

Makes it easier to appeal to a selected group of people on an emotional level that might not have worked days or hours or minutes before.

Makes it easier to round up people and say they’re doing whatever it is that the government thinks caused the attack.

The great irony of the Charlie Hebdo attacks was the aftermath. French law is different than American law in ways that most of us don’t understand. They have no First Amendment guiding their laws. The French government used the charge of, “apologists for terrorism” to arrest more than 50 people, 12 of whom have been sentenced to jail terms. Already the United States and the European Union are calling for more surveillance of Internet activities of citizens.

Long before we had the Internet or really a country, Ben Franklin said, “Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.”

Every time there is a new attack, a little bit of our freedom is taken away from us under the auspices of protection. After 9/11, we had the Patriot Act, which brought a whole new level of control of the citizenry by the government into play.

Now after this attack we’re being told they need more.

They need to watch more of what we do. I’m surprised they haven’t gone 1984 state and just put cameras in all our homes.

When does enough become enough? When have we given too much control of our lives to those who seek to harm us? When have those who seek to cause terror win? When we give up freedom X or Y? When the government has wiretaps on 10 percent of the country? Or 20%? How far are we all willing to go before we say enough?

There is a very fine line between trying to keep Americans safe and trying to take away every freedom we have – for our own protection.


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