What does security mean?

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April 2006

Security. A little word filled with multiple meanings and much emotion from personal to national security.

††††††††††† Closely associated with the word security is safety. We teach our children how to be safe crossing the street, be wary of strangers, and stay close to mom or dad. If a child follows the rules we teach them, we have every expectation they will be secure.

††††††††††† As we all know however, all the teaching in the world doesnít protect a child from a predator, sexual or otherwise. Predators have wily ways of luring children into their clutches. The Child Lures program shows the ways that predators can get your childís attention. If you have an opportunity to participate in this program, please do so.

††††††††††† One thing that I learned from just a short exposure to the program is that predators are so friendly that the child doesnít think the person is a stranger.

††††††††††† As children grow older we increase their limits of freedom and teach them responsibility in caring for themselves. We hope that these rules will keep them safe and secure wherever they are. There is not protection, however, from the drunk driver, no matter how defensively we teach them to drive.

††††††††††† A woman learns the rules of travel and moving about in our society, so as to prevent a rapist from finding her in an unsafe place. Even worse, all of us have to be wary of possible drive-by shootings or wanton murderess, such as the the young couple in Michigan in late February.

††††††††††† President Kennedy commented one time that if someone wanted to kill him, there was nothing the security forces could do to prevent them. Of course, that was proved true on November 22, 1963.

††††††††††† Ever since 9/11/2001, there has been a parnoia in this country. Peopleís fear of everyone and everything is weakening our country and our resolve to live as a free people.

††††††††††† We are willing to give up our freedoms in order to feel safe and secure. ThePatriot Act gave the government the authority to check on the reading habits of library patrons. The President authorized the surveillance of international emails without getting court approval. Whereís the outrage agains these violations of our freedom. Being secure and safe does not mean living in a controlled society.

††††††††††† On the other hand, six major US ports were under the control of a British company. When it was sold toa company owned by the United Arab Emirates, the only country to recognize the Taliban of Afghanistan as the legitimate government, many people protested.President Bush supported this arrangement with this foreign company. How far will outsourcing go?

††††††††††† I was outraged when I gfirst heard of this arrangement, but Thomas Friedman (MDN, 2/28/06) wisely pointed out, the security of our ports are still in the hands of the US Coast Guard. Because of the public outcry, this company will not be operating our ports.

††††††††††† Our so called defense budget of trillions of dollars every year is generally accepted as the cost of freedom and security. Yet we are spending billions on a useless war in Iraq that has demolished that country and brought it to brink of civil war.

††††††††††† The government is now studying the feasibility of air strikes against Iran.

††††††††††† Despite the hue and cry after 9/11 about the defense of our country and the much ballyhooed Department of Homeland Security, we are no safer now against a terrorist attack than we were before 9/11. What we do have, however, is a false sense of security that has not diminished our fears. If anything, we are less secure now than before.

††††††††††† Hurrican Katrina gave us a live emergency situation for the government to deal with and it failed badly. FEMA, the agency that is dealing with the disaster from the hurricanes, failed miserably in the initial days. FEMA is under the Department of Hoeland Security.

††††††††††† Fear is an important emotion in ouor lives. It prepares us for fight or flight from a dangerous situation. Unfortunately, fear can take over our lives and be debilitating. Thatís partly what is happening in this country regarding personal and national security.

††††††††††† Does fear of terrorists and personal attack keep you from moving forward in your life? If so, then it is time to do something about it. Prudence is an essential virtue or habit to guide us in our everyday living without fear.

††††††††††† Prudence is especially important when it comes to discussin and debating our national security. Letís urge our representatives and senators at both state and national level to take on a heavy dose of prudence.