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The Proper Response to Threats of Terrorism
”Those Who Sacrifice Liberty For Security Deserve Neither.” - Benjamin Franklin
Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen did their jobs as artists in creating this situation through making their movie, The Interview. This recent Sony Pictures/North Korea situation highlights our tendency toward cowardice in the face of a method that continues to prove successful every time we bend. The makers of South Park, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, shined a light on it a few years back with their season 10 Mohammad episode, titled "Cartoon Wars", not long after terrorists attacked a newspaper office for running cartoons that depicted Muhammad. Trey and Matt full on dared Comedy Central to run the episode in the name of free speech, yet Comedy Central eventually bent by blanking out the offending scene the night it aired.
Now here we are again. Our free speech, one of the founding tenants that makes this country what it is, being trampled just because somebody threatened us. If I, or if someone I loved, got caught up in a terrorist attack, I can honestly say I'd be proud. I'd be proud to give my life in that situation. Because the bullies were forced to make a move because we didn't bend. We decided freedom of thoughts and ideas is more important. Good for Rogen and Goldberg for being brave enough to go there. To use this very fertile terrain for comedy, the whole North Korea situation, and make fun of it like it needs to be made fun of. Kim Jung Un is just as delusional as his daddy, and has been convinced that he's somehow important. Why can't that be made fun of? He has weapons, an army, a country full of people who have been lied to all their lives and convinced that he's a god. And he's bat-s**t delusional. That's a problem. One of the ways humanity deals with problems is through humor. That's how we do it. If we hope for the people of North Korea to ever know freedom like we know it, we need to be making fun of that guy. He's a joke. Everybody point and laugh.
Recently I had a conversation where I stated something similar to what I said above about being proud if I or someone I loved got caught up in a terrorist attack. This person's response was that he is a parent and that he has a responsibility to his kids to not put himself in a dangerous situation to ensure he be alive to raise his children. Perhaps this is easier for me to say because I'm not a parent, but it would seem to me that parents have a responsibility to teach their children the proper way to respond to bullies. If I were a parent and responsible for raising members of the future generation of this country, I think I would feel it my obligation to teach them this lesson. That threats of terrorism is a tactic used by bullies trying to force their ways on us. Giving into these kinds of threats are not what this country is about. This country was founded by people who stood up in the face of imminent danger for what they believed in. Much like the quote from Benjamin Franklin said in the quote above, those willing to sacrifice their liberty for safety deserve neither. Liberty and freedom, as it's often said, are not free. They must be earned.
In recent years we've done the future generations of this country a disservice by teaching them that the proper response to terrorist threats is to bend and ensure the safety of the masses, even if it means compromising our principals. How are future generations supposed to learn how to defend and maintain our freedom and liberty if these are the lessons we are teaching?
It's often said, usually as a deterrent against fighting back against terrorists, that our attacks on terrorists only create more terrorists. And I'm sure on some level that is true. But is the same not true the other way around? If our attitude towards terrorist threats were to continue on living the way we choose to live in the face of them, and if we, rather that fearing attack, deemed those killed in those attacks heroes for a cause, then all terrorists would be doing through following through on their threats is creating more heroes to inspire us. We would show them that their tactics don't work on us. That we each would proudly give our lives for what we believe in, just as they give their lives for what they believe in.
We're all going to die somehow. Most of us will most likely die serving no real purpose, lying safely in some hospital bed somewhere, with our lives given for no real meaning or purpose beyond those we know and love. Would it not be an honor for each and every one of you to know that if you have to give your life anyway, that it be given in defense of something meaningful? Terrorist attacks are an opportunity to give the lives of the people of this country for something truly important. Would that not be an honorable death that we could each be proud of? As much as we fear and try to avoid death, whether we like it or not, death is inevitable. What better way to die than to die standing up for your principals?
Would the proper response to terrorist attacks not be to stand firm for our ideals and beliefs and show the world that we're willing to lay our lives down for them? Are they not that important? Would you not give your life to ensure future generations have the same freedoms and liberties that you and I have enjoyed throughout our lives? Have others who came before us not made the same sacrifice for our benefit? Can we not be brave enough to do the same?