There is no doubt that the American response to terrorists has changed dramatically over the last 15 years. The question is: does having officers surrounding major events and soldiers on every corner mean we are safer, or does it mean we are now hostages within our own borders? 15 years ago Americans would go to the mall, sports events or holiday parades with no greater care than whether they should leave early to beat traffic. We would look at places such as Israel and think how horrible it must be to live in a society which treats every public gathering as a potential war zone.
Guess what? That 15 year old image of Israel is now the US.
If you doubt the current situation of terror in America, simply look at the recent Papal visit to D.C., NYC and Philadelphia. In Philadelphia alone, a 48 hour visit required the mobilization of the Philadelphia Police Department (over 6000 strong), assistance from over 1000 Pennsylvania State Troopers, the PA National Guard, Homeland Security, the Secret Service, FBI and a host of other law enforcement agencies at the local, state and federal level. In addition to the ones on the ground, they were also supported by the emergency management offices in 4 counties and 24 hour operations at the state level. Add the manpower supplied for fire, EMS, traffic control and related support activities and you would see that a simple visit from the Pope turned Philadelphia into an occupied territory – occupied for the purpose of preventing an invasion by a single lone wolf terrorist determined to make a name for their self.
Do not get me wrong, a Papal visit is a big deal and, even prior to 9/11, would have involved a large amount of manpower. But, prior to a group of terrorists flying into the Twin Towers, that manpower would have been devoted primarily to protecting those in attendance from themselves, and the local low level criminal element looking to score a few bucks picking pockets. National Guard personnel might have assisted with traffic control, but they would have been more concerned with directing lost visitors to the proper parking lot rather than insuring they were not attempting to sneak a dirty bomb into a crowd. Times have definitely changed.
Of course, the real problem is that scenes such as that which played out for the Papal visit have come to be expected. As soon as this event came to a close, many of those involved were already busy planning for the next big visit, convention or championship sporting event – any large gathering of people is now seen as a potential target. That is the problem.
The average citizen, and even many involved in manning the checkpoints and security zones, view security activities as a success if no attack takes place. Of course, this is the ultimate goal and all of those involved should be proud of their efforts. But, terrorists have a different view of success. If possible, the goal of any terrorist, whether a lone wolf or part of a large group, is to infiltrate and successfully attack in a manner which draws a lot of attention. However, the underlying goal of terrorists is to cause fear and that does not always require a successful attack – or even an attempt.
By simply causing our society to alter our lifestyle due to the fear of a terror attack, whether one occurs or is even planned, means that, at a lower level, terrorists have won. Even though we may not realize it, this fear is what causes us to question everyone, place officers and soldiers on every corner, wait for the next threat and hope we are successful in defeating it. Problem is, that fear alone is the threat we are not combating.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.