Terror Nation


"I don't know that terrorists will come, but I don't know they won't come," said Lake County Mayor Macie Roberson. He was happy to take the money, and he used it to buy all sorts of things, such as two trailers, each filled with emergency supplies such as a four-wheeler, generators, cots, tables, chairs, coolers, flashlights and other supplies.

"This is what we thought we needed," Roberson said. In response to critics, who say the money is wasted, he claimed, "We deserve protection just like the people in the big cities all over the United States."

At least he didn't do what officials in Columbus, Ohio, did: spend it on bulletproof vests for police dogs.

"The money is there to take. So, of course, they're are gonna get it," said de Rugy. "Why shouldn't they?"

But aren't we talking about more than money, aren't we talking about human lives?

"But spending money on the wrong thing -- which will end up not saving any lives -- is not gonna change anything," de Rugy said.

The Cost of Consequences

Many people say spending we're not spending enough on homeland security "We need to devote significantly more resources to homeland security in this country," said Ervin. "It's expensive, but we have to balance that against the consequences if there were to be an attack."

Ervin also said we should search more bags -- at stadiums, concerts, schools and shopping malls. We must make ourselves more secure.

"Well, what a terrorist would say [is], 'well, if that shopping mall has guards around it, I'll go to the one that doesn't.' If you protect one thing and you simply displace the terrorist to a different threat, it's an exercise in futility," he said.

But wouldn't armed police at shopping malls and schools be a victory for the terrorists?

According to Ervin, "If there are visible measures in place that our government has taken to secure ourselves, I think the average American would take comfort from that."

Perspective Matters

Terrorism is frightening -- evil -- and there are bad guys out there who want to kill us. But perspective matters. In the three months after Sept. 11, a study found 1,000 Americans died because they were afraid to fly, and they drove instead.

The Rand Institute's Brian Michael Jenkins, author of "Unconquerable Nation," has studied terrorism for 40 years and said we should keep terrorism in perspective.

"We have had dark moments in our history, far darker moments than those we face today. We've come through wars, we've come through plagues, we've come through pandemics … the response to terrorism cannot be diving under the kitchen table and living in a state of fear. That's exactly what the terrorists are attempting to create."

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