We don’t blink an eye, unless we learn that the IRS may be targeting our political allies with audits.
We trust that the relatively new Homeland Security is keeping us, well, secure, rather than spying on us for no particular reason. We beef up the National Security Agency, even though other large governmental entities could handle keeping us relatively safe — even if they have sometimes been unwilling to work together.
FBI, CIA, anyone?
We say we can’t, or shouldn’t, afford the costs associated with “entitlements,” or to give teachers a raise, but we’re more than willing to pay for a governmental entity that could have us interrogated or placed on a list of potential terrorists if we were to innocently say in exasperation: “I could just kill Obama for doing that!”
We move from inner cities, because they’re dangerous. The public schools aren’t safe; they’re dysfunctional and their buildings are old. We’re afraid to walk the dog after midnight. And we don’t want to encounter someone quite different from ourselves between the restaurant and the car.
So we live in a gated community where we can be safe. Cameras are installed at the entrances of high-rise condominiums. We hire private security guards. We buy guns.
We say that efforts by the NSA have prevented many acts of terrorism — and take this claim at face value — yet three people are killed and scores more injured in Boston in April.
We claim that we must trust government to do the right thing with the metadata they’re collecting, yet we say our president hasn’t told the truth about Benghazi and we complain that Congress refuses to govern.
We’d like to be free, but we prefer to be safe.
We’re trusting, and yet we’re not.
We say that to preserve our freedom, security measures are required.
I say, if we truly live in the land of the free and the home of the brave, we might want to reconsider that thinking. If we want to be free, truly free, then a 100 percent guarantee of safety cannot, and should not, be what it costs.
Some of us will live long lives. Some of us will have accidents. Some of us will die before our time. We will be mourned, and perhaps a nation will grieve.
We must learn to accept that we may not all die in bed at a ripe old age. Security is not the simple plan that it seems.
To live in a free country, this is what it takes.
Karen Owen is Viewpoints editor of The Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va.