on Risk

America was founded by risk takers. Those who continue to immigrate here, leaving all they know behind them, are also risk takers.  Our country seems to be a magnet for those who are willing to risk it all for a better life for themselves and their families. This is probably why our country is one of the most prosperous nations in the world – her people have bettered themselves by the challenges of life. Yet lately, there seems to be a different trend emerging. Instead of a people of faith – in ourselves, in our nation, in our future and in our God – we have become a people of fear.  We want guaranteed safety and security in a world that clearly can offer neither, and we are willing to turn against each other in order to chase this false hope.

We as a nation have so desperately want the feeling of safety that we had before 9/11 that we are willing to do anything, to anyone, in order to get it. For the first time since Pearl Harbor we were wounded to the core, and most of us have stood together. However, as in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor, some have also given into such a fear of the enemy that we have allowed our government to do unspeakable things to fellow Americans in the name of safety. During World War II, thousands of Japanese-Americans, who had no ties to and were never convicted of colluding with the Empire of Japan, were herded up and forcefully sent away to internment camps on US soil. We violated the rights of our fellow Americans back then because we gave into fear. And it is happening again.  The only difference this time is that the government is not limiting its fear to just one nationality – they now turn their eyes of distrust on every American by utilizing the TSA.

Since the TSA was founded, Americans of all ages, genders, and nationalities have been humiliated, abused, threatened, harassed, and assaulted in the name of security. However, the most disturbing thing to me is that so many of my fellow Americans seem to be tolerant of these abuses on their neighbors, just like so many in WWII seemed to tolerate what happened to Japanese-Americans. In fact, many are openly critical of those who don’t “get with the program and know the rules”, even going so far to tell them that “if you don’t like it don’t fly”. Is this what we are now, tolerant of government abuse as long as it does not affect “me or mine”? Instead of demanding that the government stop imposing stupid, unconstitutional rules, we turn on those of us who either don’t know, understand or want to follow them?

9/11 can never happen again for two reasons: secured cockpit doors and passengers that are now prepared to fight back. It only took 1 hour and eleven minutes from when the first plane hit the first World Trade Center Tower for the folks on Flight 93 to figure out that the rules had changed. Never again will passengers be complacent under threat. Sure terrorists could bring a bomb on a plane, but that threat existed before 9/11 and they can certainly accomplish the same thing with a lot less hassle by simply blowing themselves up in a busy security line or baggage claim. It is foolish to think that we can make anything in life 100% safe. We are at greater risk of dying in a car crash than from a terrorist bombing, yet we don’t want the TSA to irradiate or feel us up at every highway exit do we?

Out of irrational fear we have allowed our government to create a department of mini-despots, a cartel who answers to no one but themselves, and who knowingly has the public at its mercy. TSA agents have failed to find threats over 70% of the time, have allowed 25,000 security breaches (like the underwear bomber, who got on a plane despite having no ID, no boarding pass and the State Department was warned about his intentions ahead of time), hires people before background checks are completed, refuses to provide the radiation test results for their scanners, refuses to address the problem that these machines have been thwarted, and refuses to acknowledge passenger abuses by their employees.  TSA agents have been arrested for murder, rape, child porn, theft, running prostitution rings, drug trafficking and bribery.  And this is who we think will keep us safe? For absolutely nothing in return, we are surrendering our health, our dignity, our privacy, our constitutional rights, and our liberty for the price of a plane ticket. A plane ticket. That kind of “protection” shake down would make even the Chicago mob proud.

Our nation was founded by risk-takers, it thrived due to risk-takers, and it will survive because of risk-takers.  It‘s time to say to all those people who see terrorists around every corner and want 100% security to be the ones to drive, and leave the rest of us the heck alone.  I’ll risk living with my hard won liberty, thank you.

“Freedom is not defined by safety. Freedom is defined by the ability of citizens to live without government interference. Government cannot create a world without risks, nor would we really wish to live in such a fictional place. Only a totalitarian society would even claim absolute safety as a worthy ideal, because it would require total state control over its citizens’ lives. Liberty has meaning only if we still believe in it when terrible things happen and a false government security blanket beckons.” Ron Paul, US Congressman from Texas and 2012 candidate for President

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