Civil liberties at stake

Sep 112006
Authors: JAMES BAETKE The Rocky Mountain Collegian

Editors note: Sept. 11, 2001 was a day that impacted Americans everywhere, and fallout from that day continues to change us every day. The Collegian has contacted several professors to see how the day has changed their area of study. Below is one perspective of several.

James Baetke: How has Sept. 11 and the aftermath of the last five years changed your field?

Bill Timpson: As an educator, I have something to contribute about teamwork and thinking about issues like revenge after Sept. 11. It’s made me more aware of certain suspicions (with the government). In my field, we need to put some energy into peacemaking.

JB: How do you see your field evolving over the next five to 10 years, and will these changes be the result of Sept. 11?

BT: I would hope there would be more attention to what happened and what we could have done and should have done with the war in Iraq. Clearly, in any war, there are issues of misunderstanding. How did we get Vietnam wrong? There are issues of culture and diversity we need to look at.

The challenge for everybody in academia is how do you get out of your silo, to think holistically. What are the implications of 9/11 and the interrelations between the environment, society and economy?

JB: Do you believe an event like Sept. 11 will happen again?

BT: I just got back from Northern Ireland and that place is progress, but it took 20 years. How many measures do we have to put in place to be safe and what civil liberties will we have to give up to our detriment?

So, some of the bigger questions is how do we educate people to think critically and courageously? We are up against an enemy that does not value civil liberties, at least that’s what the conservatives say, so we can’t play by any rules.

JB: In a world where globalization is growing, do you believe terrorist attacks will continue or eventually end?

BT: Well, there is a difference in perspective and culture. Will there be conflict and violent conflict around the world in the future? Of course. How will we respond and what paradigms will we bring? It depends.

Staff writer James Baetke can be reached at

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