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Monday, September 11, 2006

Preventive Medicine for Terrorism, reprinted from March, 2004

The horrific events of September 11, 2001 will remain indelibly engraved on the collective memory of our nation. This is as it should be; we must never forget. No amount of educated discussion on the subject will change the fact that it happened, and no amount of military force applied throughout the world will reverse the suffering and loss of life. In the short term, the terrorists achieved their goal. They changed the way we live. They also caused a sense of horror and despair to sweep this nation, unlike anything I had seen in my 45 years prior to that morning.


In the long term, however, they failed- and they have sealed their fate in the process. Our despair has evolved into a renewal of the American spirit- which is, and always was, a fighting spirit. It is a spirit of independence, and yes, a spirit of defiance. We proudly defy those who would impose oppressive beliefs and restrictions upon a free people, and we have always fought for the freedom of the world's oppressed. We have carried that fight to the four corners of the earth, and we will carry it there once again. Our patriotism has been reborn, like the faith in God that insured our survival in the precarious moments of this nation's birth.

The fact that we were attacked does not shock me, nor does the fact that a small group of radicals would devise a workable plan to commandeer commercial airliners. What disturbs me is the fact that we, as Americans, have abandoned the cure for problems like this, and that the enemy knows it. We had traded it for a facade of security that came crashing down that morning, much like the buildings themselves.

Worst of all was is the notion that we are essentially defenseless against this type of attack, or that more terrorist attacks are inevitable. Oh, there are some things that we cannot individually guard against- but four jabbering lunatics with box-cutters are most certainly not among them.
What happened to America on September 11, 2001 did not have to happen. That particular attack was absolutely preventable. Prevention would have required a fighting spirit, and the effective means with which to win the fight. The former was present. The latter was sadly and shamefully absent on the morning the terrorists launched the attack.


The brave Americans on flight 93 proved this. They pooled their resources and improvised weapons, and they overpowered the terrorists who almost certainly intended to fly that airliner into our President's living room. One cell phone call from the flight indicates that the passengers and crew were preparing to throw hot water on the terrorists, in an attempt to regain control of the aircraft. They gave their lives in this valiant effort, but in the purest spirit of America they saved countless other lives in the process. It is arguable that they saved our very government.
What is not arguable is that the passengers of all four of those planes were entitled to better weapons than hot water and snack trays. These were AMERICANS! They died for our way of life, fighting a very real and personal war with implements designed for preparing instant soup. This is ludicrous. The founders of this nation foresaw that there would always be savages willing to prey on the defenseless. And what was their response to this threat? They absolutely, unequivocally confirmed the right of every American to keep and bear arms. Their intentions and their reasoning were crystal clear.


"We the People, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice and insure domestic tranquility..." "..Provide for the common defense, protect the general welfare, secure the blessings of liberty, to ourselves and our posterity do ordain and establish this Constitution of the United States of America ."

Where was the established justice and domestic tranquility on September 11, 2001? Where was the common defense for the passengers of those four airliners, or the thousands upon thousands who now lie dead among the rubble of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon? Who could have secured the blessings of liberty for them in the face of a superbly financed and carefully planned terrorist attack, which was executed with fanatical dedication and resolve?

A half-dozen good men and women with guns, that's who. We are each, individually; those same "People" who are guaranteed the right to keep and bear arms. National Security is just as much our business, as it is the business of the Department of Homeland Security.

"But what about the increases in airline security?" you may ask. It is a small and fallible solution to a much larger problem. Anyone with an imagination can envision a similar scenario involving a semi loaded with flammable liquids, or an oil tanker commandeered off the coast. The terrorist leadership is intelligent and very, very determined. They have tremendous finances at their disposal. They are willing to die to accomplish their goals. This war is being waged against individual citizens, at the time and place of the enemy's choosing. Individual citizens will have to fight these battles, when and where they occur. They cannot fight them with hot water and fire extinguishers.


There must never again be an America so vulnerable that less than two dozen terrorists armed with box-cutters can kill nearly 3,000 defenseless citizens. This is exactly the pitfall that Ben Franklin was talking about when he warned against trading precious liberty for a little "temporary security". All the gun control laws of the FAA, the City of New York , and the District of Columbia combined didn't save one life taken by these criminals- but two snub-nosed .38's on each of those planes could have saved them all.

The personal, individual right to keep and bear arms, guaranteed by the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution, is the "common defense". It is the means by which we secured the "blessings of liberty" - and it the means by which we will defend it. Laws which disarm the populace only create an endless supply of sacrificial lambs. The more restrictive the law which the lambs must observe, the easier is the slaughter for the wolves of the world. Public officials who support such laws must be removed from office- for they themselves are a threat to our national security.

When we stop being more afraid of law-abiding United States citizens (who have passed numerous background checks before they obtain their Concealed Carry License) than we are of the terrorists themselves, we will have gone a long way toward solving these problems before they occur.

I hope I live to see it.

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