Monday, December 30, 2002

Citizens on Patrol
No, I am not advocating that we lure Commandant Lassard out of retirement. But Kreblog's post about anti-terrorism measures is interesting and I think pointing in the right direction. Some of the plans under the Homeland Security Act I think are worthy, such as much of the reorganization and streamlining of various agencies responsible for facets of homeland patrol and protection. However, I do share some misgivings about various federal overreaches in this regard, mostly out of concern that they will not be effective. One idea that has been discussed in the blogosphere and that I relate here is that we as citizens can't put 100% faith in federal protection of our safety (much as we do not count on the local police department to protect us completely from random crime). Crime prevention measures can reduce the chances of its commission, but law enforcement in many ways is reactive - in a sense that it addresses crime already committed. What this means is that citizens can't cede to a federal power their responsibility to themselves and the community to be vigilant, aware, and themselves responsive to crime. Think about it. During 9/11, the one entity that stood up to terrorists and prevented their horrible aims was the ad hoc citizen militia that formed on Flight 93. Nowhere was the FBI, CIA, or Pentagon to be found during that moment of crime prevention. That's not to say that their deaths in the Pennsylvania countryside weren't crimes themselves, but they at the very least prevented much greater catastrophes. I think this spirit of the citizen militia needs to be retained and honored somewhat in any discussion of Homeland Security. That we cannot entrust our complete protection to the feds, but that we in turn can play a part in the protection of the country at some level, at some moment when called upon.


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