Just after the Sandy Hook homicidal tragedy, people in the media-government complex said it was time for a “national conversation” about guns. Sadly, even with social media internet technology, a “national conversation” is a physical and perhaps even logical impossibility—an oxymoron because conversations demand attention to the partners in dialogue, which limits the possible number of participants.
Still, it is an attractive slogan. I find myself wishing it were possible to have a “national conversation” about public security in the aftermath of the Second Boston Massacre.
We live in a dangerous world. Do we have any reason to believe that our government can make us safer by preventing planned attacks? We can argue about whether it is good to get safety for giving up liberty—but it may be a debate with a false premise. We may give up liberty and still not be safe.
All it took, as far as I can tell, was for someone to inconspicuously drop a backpack in a crowd and it was over. Death and mutilation and carnage followed.
Can the government regulate enough to prevent bombs from being made? The experience we’ve had in Iraq and Afghanistan with IEDs would lead me to doubt it. People can cook up surprises in a kitchen if they want to do so.
What about more “see something say something”? Where will that lead? More grandpas jailed and facing bogus charges based on hear-say?
What about the hope that our government will catch the real culprits and punish them as a deterrent to others? This would be the right strategy. Not every terrorist wants to commit suicide for the cause. Will we punish the perpetrator in an appropriate way? Or will he end up with the Bill Ayers retirement plan? Under the regime of liberalism, I’m not optimistic about our government dispensing real justice.
Furthermore, to punish the bomber(s), they have to catch him or them first. After the FBI’s fiasco with the Anthrax letters, it is hard to be optimistic. Our government’s main terrorism victories seem to consist in enticing Middle Easterners or Occupy Wall Street protestors to plan an attack and then stopping them.
So what will out government do? They will probably institute more spying, more armed guards everywhere, more check points, more warrantless searches, and argue for constant domestic drone surveillance. This will happen with very little discussion. We already have a host of tax-supported authorities who justify their existence by “protecting us” and who are looking for ways to expand their budgets every year.
These people have already set aside our rights in many areas, acquiring amazing powers and budgets. No one will ever suggest that the second Boston Massacre demonstrates these bureaucracies are failures that they should be abolished. Such changes only go one way and never get rolled back. All failures prove we need to give them more money and power.
So what happens when we have more troops on our streets, drones flying overhead, and more checkpoints? Will the next terrorist attack prove that all those changes were a bad idea? No, they will just prove the state has not yet imprisoned us enough.
So please, Americans, don’t let your desire for your government to protect you make you assume that they are capable of doing so.