The events of September 11 are a truly horrible tragedy. The violation of our national sense of security is unparalleled in American history. This has led to commentators in the media to call for some restrictions on our liberties or to ask government officials what restrictions would be necessary. This is not the way to react to an attack on our nation and the ideology on which it is based.

To allow this attack to cower our nation into hiding is to give the terrorists true victory. We cannot sacrifice our liberty and our freedoms that we enjoy as citizens and residents of the United States in order to create the impression of security.

The relative freedom that makes our nation vulnerable to terrorism is also part of the reason that we are a target of it. Our freedom is what makes us great, it is what makes us prosperous and is what makes us unique in the world.

Even in western nations such as France or the United Kingdom our levels of freedom and liberty are unmatched.

The burden is upon the government to prove people guilty, we are allowed to travel freely within our borders with relative anonymity and we have protections for privacy and liberty from government intervention. Even our freedom to believe in the causes of those who would destroy us makes us stronger.

Obviously all reasonable measures should be taken to prevent an attack similar to those of September 11, or any other terrorist attack. However, when these measures are considered, every care should be taken to ensure they do not encroach upon our freedom.

Cockpit doors should be reinforced and locked from the time the doors of the plane are locked until the plane is reopened at the destination gate.

Other measures, such as not allowing curb-side check in or not allowing parking within 300 feet of the terminal, do nothing to prevent hijacking and the measures currently in place have shown to be effective against bombs and most air terrorism.

But we cannot let this attack on our nation lead to restrictions on liberty and the freedoms we enjoy. To give into such impulses gives terrorists the result that they desired. It causes a fundamental change in the way we function as a society. It allows the terrorists to take away some of the freedom that makes America what it is.

Thomas Jefferson once said that ?those who desire to give up freedom in order to gain security, will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.? The American people should not stand for their freedoms being trampled on any more than they will stand for terrorist attacks.

Thomas Paris can be reached at

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