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Columns : Editorial

Have We Forgotten the Lessons of 9/11?

Most Americans have settled back into their pre-2001 comfort zone. You can't afford to.

October 01, 2007  |  by - Also by this author

Baaah! Baaah! That's the sound of me once again becoming a sheep. I thought I had shed my wool back around 7:30 a.m. PST on Sept. 11, 2001, when I watched a second airliner slam into the World Trade Center.

But time and distance have sucked me back into complacency. The daily routine of producing this magazine,  of going out with my friends, of cheering for my teams have all slowly started to transform me back into the man I was on Sept. 10, 2001. They've dulled me. They've made me less attuned to the fact that really bad people want to kill us by the bushel and the only thing that stands between them and us is what George Orwell called "rough men willing to do violence on our behalf."

You, ladies and gentlemen, and your brothers and sisters in the armed forces are those Orwellian "rough men." Thank you for your service.

Now, I know you're tired of hearing about terrorism. Some of you have told me you are much more worried about gangbangers at the 7-Eleven than you are about al-Qaeda blowing up the mall. But I'm afraid you have to be worried about both. You have to watch out for the al-Qaeda cells and the Rollin' Gangsta Whatevers.

See, the truth is that al-Qaeda now has us where they want us. Asleep.

Now, what I'm about to say to you might be a surprise to Rosie O'Donnell and other idiots who believe George W. Bush attacked the World Trade Center. But it won't be a surprise to you. A bad day is coming. I can't tell you when or where (Lord, I wish I could.), but a bad day is coming.

And I don't mean a single car bombing by a group of homegrown jihadists who get lucky. Make no mistake, that would be bad. But it isn't BAD. I'm talking about a sophisticated attack by well-trained, well-funded, and brutal terrorists. The kind of attack that will make us all cry.

It's been reported that Osama bin Laden has sought clerical guidance on how many American civilians he can kill and still remain a righteous man in the eyes of Allah. That number is widely reported as 4 million, including 2 million innocents. Which means, of course, that he's coming for our kids.

What can we do about this as a society? Apparently, not much. Instead of going after this enemy hammer and tong, we worry about political correctness, and profiling, and the loss of civil liberties for people who just have to call Abdul in his cave in Waziristan. And all the time our enemy laughs. Because he knows that we don't have the political will to fight him.

We won't even protect our schoolchildren from active shooters by allowing qualified teachers to carry concealed firearms in their schools. So how are we going to prevent a heavily armed terrorist cell from taking over one of our elementary schools? Numerous experts have advised that we put a combat fire team of four or five highly trained men and women in every school in America. But can you imagine how that would go over with your local school board?

They'd oust the school board member who proposed it. After all, arguing for putting heavy guns in schools to protect the children from a terrorist attack that most Americans believe will never come is political suicide.

So what can you—as law enforcement officers—do to stop the bad day? The only thing you can do is stay alert and stay ready. You can ask yourself whether the cigarette hijacking or gun running or illegal alien smuggling case that you are investigating might be a predicate crime to a terrorist attack. You can carry off duty, including if possible a long gun in the trunk of your private car. You can look for the unusual and ask questions. And you can always ask yourself this question when you spot unusual activity, "Could this be part of a dry run or surveillance for a terror attack?"

We pledge here at POLICE to keep you thinking about terrorism, even when you don't want to. Because when it comes to terrorism, none of us can afford to grow wool and say, "Baaah."

Tags: 9/11, Islamist Terrorists, Counter-Terrorism Initiatives


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