Sunday, May 5, 2013

A Pack not a Herd.

We have all heard the story of how Watertown man, David Henneberry, found the Boston Marathon bomb suspect cowering inside his boat in his backyard.  Mr. Henneberry is the sort of neighbor we would all like to have.  But his actions, and the events leading up to them, are a litmus test for all Americans.  It is a choice that we all will make, and the consequences of that choice will impact the lives of our children.  Let me state it plainly:
  • A) Promises of security imposed at the cost of our freedom
  • B) Freedom with the risks and responsibilities it requires
There are no other choices.  Either you are willing to take the chance that when you go out into your backyard to secure the tarp on your boat you will come face to face with a desperate murder-suspect hiding from justice, or you will allow your sacred rights to slip away from you and your children.  Do we give up protection against unreasonable searches and seizures?   Need we give up protection against self incrimination?  Does security require that we inflict cruel and unusual punishments so that there becomes no difference between us and the monsters we oppose?  Nietzsche warned, "Be careful when you fight the monsters, lest you become one."

When we are confronted with horrific crimes it is natural to turn away.  It is even natural to focus on a minute detail to avoid the magnitude of the horror of the whole event.  It is human to want a shining knight on a white horse to save us from the bad guys.  I understand those emotional responses and reject them for the false hope they offer.  Notice I said false hope. 

All of the best trained and equipped men and women of the Commonwealth's departments of law enforcement bravely searched for this terrorist.  But they did not find him.  They did everything in their power, and some would say they even went beyond their allowable power, but to no avail.  There are conflicting reports about why they did not find him, but, the point is, they did not find him.  He was found by accident by a man that was looking after his property supposedly after the danger had past.

If all of this was done, and it was unsuccessful, what can we do to make sure that law enforcement would find the fugitive next time?  The Choice A answer: more cameras; more cameras connected to a central office so that they can keep an eye on you. To watch your backyard for you.  To watch out for you.  More cameras in high crime neighborhoods and at intersections and most importantly at public schools.  If you are accustomed to cameras focused on you as a child at school, then why would you be opposed to a camera focused on you anywhere else?  What do you have to hide?

The Choice B answer is harder but proven.  It is old fashioned but very effective.  Before the founding of our Republic, citizens banded together to deal with the adversities and misfortunes that occurred.  Everyone knew that if they didn't help they could not count on help when they were in need.  Whether it was flood, fire, hostile nations, or desperate criminals, people would run to the sound of trouble.  An example of this from our past was the Northfield Raid, a attempted bank robbery that ended the decade long career of the James-Younger Gang.  More recently we have the example of the passengers on Flight 93 and those that ran to the sound of the explosions at the Boston Marathon.  If we take the Choice B answer then we must all accept that as our President said, "We are the ones we've been waiting for."  We will have to step up to meet the challenges that will come.  We will have to be prepared to save ourselves and others.  We will have to do what needs doing.  But we will be able to face the challenges because we are not alone.

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