Higgins: Who Should We Fear On 9/11?Written by Tim Higgins | | firstname.lastname@example.org
“There is no need to sally forth, for it remains true that those things which make us human are, curiously enough, always close at hand. Resolve then, that on this very ground, with small flags waving and tiny blasts of tiny trumpets, we have met the enemy, and not only may he be ours, he may be us.” – Walt Kelly
It’s twelve years since the attacks of 9/11, and as we’ve been reminded of again in recent weeks; we know longer know who our friends are, who our enemies are, and who we can count on for support and assistance.
Perhaps those we should be most fearful of these days however, are the enemies we are most familiar with. While the efforts extreme Islam cannot help but be on our mind; more traditional threats go largely ignored. No, I’m not talking about progressives accusations against Tea Party members, or those clinging to their Bibles and their guns. The enemies of which I speak are those in power who seek even more and the frailties of human nature,
Fear the mall cops of the TSA, one of whom was himself recently arrested in connection with threats made to the LAX airport for the anniversary of 9/11. They have become little more than another bureaucratic nightmare, rife with bloated budgets, fraud, theft, and waste; with no results to show for the pain it inflicts. (The government has recently introduced a proposal to allow frequent travelers to forgo some part of TSA’s charms, but only by paying a fee to the government for the privilege.) And while no one talks about it, many have reduced the amount and the way that they travel rather than place themselves at these mercy of all-too-fallible government agents.
Fear instead the incredibly massive data storage facility in Utah being built by the NSA to store information that we were told that the government wasn’t gathering in the first place; and if they were gathering it (by accident) wouldn’t store. Even in light of 2001′s “Patriot Act”, many believe that it’s illegal and a violation of personal privacy for the NSA to gather and store such information; yet we willingly allow it when they insist on violating our rights in order to protect them.
For those of you not afraid of the TSA or the NSA, how about one of the others in the alphabet group. The IRS is still targeting Conservative groups, the NLRB is filled with former union employees targeting businesses that try to open in ‘Right to Work’ states, and the if for some reason you’ve managed to escape one of those, you can almost count on the fact that OSHA or the EPA has you on its radar screen.
Meanwhile local leaders across the country use this day to whine over generous federal grants which they can no longer compete over for terrorist threats that never occur. The Kansas City area as an example, received over $70 million from the Department of Homeland Security funding since 9/11 for such things as Haz-mat suits, radiation detectors, and rescue boats. Toledo (likewise a hot bed of terrorist activity) received funding during this same period for an armored vehicle for use by a special response team. Both have since been dropped for grant consideration with terrorism budgets to cities and states that were slashed by $780 million in 2011.
Even the 9/11 memorial at the former site of the Twin Towers is quickly becoming as much a symbol of waste as it is of those who were tragically sacrificed. By the time it’s completed, estimates of its total cost now look to exceed $700 million (according to the UK Daily Mail). Not to be outdone in sheer excess however, the annual operating budget of the memorial looks to be around $60 million, $20 million of which is expected to eventually be asked of taxpayers. By comparison, it should be noted that the entire budgets of the museum in Gettysburg and the USS Arizona in Pearl Harbor combined are less than the $12 million security budget required of this new memorial.
No, we should never forget those who made the ultimate sacrifice on 9/11. No we should never relax our vigilance to the potential of terrorist attacks. Perhaps however, we should reserve more than a little of our fear, not for those on foreign shores who once breached ours, but for the abuse of power, waste, and loss of freedom committed by the very government empowered to protect it.