Someone once asked me what I would do if terrorists started blowing up buses in the United States, as they do in the Middle East.
I told them I’d move to Canada. Or possibly Australia, because who doesn’t love an animal with a pouch.
But could I really move? Could I pack up and leave the place I’ve lived my whole life, where I can believe in whatever god I want, where my chosen career is protected under the constitution?
The sniper created a similar question for people in Washington D.C., Virginia and, as of Wednesday, across the United States.
Or maybe I could just stay in my house until it blows over.
After the sniper’s warning that “your children are not safe,” many people chose to stay at home with their kids. I’m not saying that decision was wrong, it’s probably what I would have done.
But let’s morbidly suppose that this is just the beginning. What if, even after they arrest this sniper (and they have two likely suspects in custody) more people start shooting at random citizens going about their lives, pumping gas or shopping?
Or what if terrorists blowing up buses or markets became an everyday occurrence in the U.S.?
If there is a specific threat, such as the one to children, sure, let’s keep the targets in the house. But what about the rest of us? Will we all hide, or move to Australia for the unusual animals?
Perhaps we would fight back instead. Maybe we would all become more aware, more responsible for ourselves and for others. I have no doubts that the police would step up and do everything they can, but when they can’t be there, would regular, everyday American citizens step up to the plate?
Already on airplanes you see people taking responsibility for their own safety. Sure, I bet the stewardesses get their fair share of people worried about normal passengers blowing the plane up, but what about the person who noticed Richard Reid, the alleged shoe bomber from last winter? We don’t know what kind of disaster was averted, but probably lives were saved.
Americans seem to feel immune to the kind of terrorism that occurs in other parts of the world. Maybe it’s because we do have the biggest guns. Maybe we’re na/ve, and it could happen here any day. But I don’t think so. If buses started being blown up in cities around the United States, there would be a lot of people who just stayed home. But I think there would be other citizens who would go out and live their lives, and not be trapped by fear.
It’s the kind of people who live here. Sept. 11 proved there’s a lot of hidden patriotism in almost everyone. Maybe you don’t think the current leaders of our country are the best and the brightest, but the foundations our country is based on seem to inspire people to stand up for America.