Monday, May 6, 2013

Maybe we've grown up?

It's been weeks since the Boston Marathon bombing and no one in Congress is seriously proposing doing any further damage to the Bill of Rights.

Frankly, I'm shocked.

Apparently we've made a little progress in the dozen years since 9/11.

Oh, sure there are already "Boston Truthers," who are even more demented than the "9/11 Truthers" or the "Birthers," but really they are just a reflexive response by the Tea Party wing of the Republican Party to try to blame everything on Barrack Obama. And even some of the president's usual critics aren't buying the "government plot" version of Boston. Since we've got the two guys who did it on video and we killed one and captured the other, there's not really fertile ground for a conspiracy theory go grow in.

Unless you really are ready for a tin-foil hat.

Not that some haven't tried.

Former Rep. Ron Paul, and unsuccessful candidate for presidential candidate as both a Libertarian and a Republican tried to sound the "tyranny of government" trumpet, deriding what he said was the "military occupation" of an American city in the search for the bombers.

He apparently missed the television footage of Boston and Watertown residents standing in the streets to give the police a rousing ovation for doing what public safety workers are supposed to do -- keep the public safe during an emergency. They looked more like citizens proud of their country, their state and their hometown than victims of tyranny, but maybe that's just me.

But the remarkable things to me is that Congress did not rush back into session, to enact national "stop and frisk" laws or to pass a law repealing the Miranda decision or to ban pressure cookers.

Unlike the era after 9/11 when the Bush Administration and Congress competed to see who could do the most damage to the Bill of Rights.

I think that didn't happen this time because we learned something from 9/11.

None of the emergency security measures we passed made us any more secure, while they made us less free.

While the privacy, dignity and rights of Americans have been violated for so long now at our airports by TSA that we've almost gotten used to it, it's important to remember that the mall cops who want to cavity search grandma  and use their super cameras to look under our clothes have never stopped a terrorist. Both the shoe bomber and the underwear bomber were stopped by alert passengers.

We've learned that, as Ben Franklin warned us, trading freedom for security would leave us with neither.

I think that's why there hasn't been another wave of public bed-wetting in the wake of the first successful large-scale terrorists attack here since 9/11. There's a realization that trading freedom for safety only leaves us less free and no more safe.

Only took us a decade to learn what Dr. Franklin knew almost 250 years ago.

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