Are we safe yet? No. Are we safer than we were fifteen years ago, at the time of the attack on the World Trade Center? No. Can we be protected from everyone who wishes us ill? No.
The current American delusion about safety has become the source of misguided political fear-mongering, major policy blunders, and cruel abdication of compassion and responsibility toward our fellow humans suffering from realities far worse than our childish fears.
When did we start to believe it our right, as Americans, to be protected cradle to grave from every one of life's dangers and adversities? At this point, it has become an obsession that suggests, to me, that the terrorists we so fear have already achieved their purpose.
We live in uncertainty. It's the condition of our lives. Just a couple of weeks ago, a number of people lost their lives in an earthquake-triggered avalanche that destroyed a hotel in Italy. Only yesterday, five were killed by a deranged gunman in Quebec. Who knows but that the next time I venture out on the Los Angeles freeway I'll have a fatal encounter with a truck? The chances of being killed in an attack by an Islamic terrorist immigrant are statistically minimal. Reason tells us that this, amongst all our other fears, is one of the most irrational, baseless, and absurd.
And still we have political leaders who manage to drum up those fears, and then exploit them. If we are to be the nation we purport to be, if we are to bravely assert the freedoms of which we sing in our national anthem, we must stand up to those who would steal them from us in the name of some dubious safety. We must tell them unambiguously that we don't need the illusory protection they are offering us in exchange for our freedoms.
As I hear often in the political discourse these days, on the other side: This is not America. We are better than this. Aren't we?
Oh, and... just for fun, there's this: