At 8:45am, on September 11th, 2001 America’s heart was torn by a hijacked plane crashing through the north tower of the World Trade Center. Eighteen minutes later, a shocked country received a second blow as a second plane tore through the south tower. An estimated 2,819 lives were lost that day. The attack seemed to have come out of nowhere. As a country, we were not properly prepared to defend ourselves. America needs to devote as much money and as many resources as possible to combating terrorism.
It has been argued that if we focus too much on preventing terrorism, we risk ignoring or reducing support for measures designed to reduce other threats to life and health (Source 1). The suggested threats we risk ignoring included heart disease, automobile accidents, and drunk driving. While these are completely valid daily threats, they are also often easily preventable. While there is not much an individual can do to protect themselves from terrorism, they can definitely have a strong influence on preventing the aforementioned. Many of societies concerns can be prevented by the self control of the individual. With the exception of heredity, heart disease may be prevented by eating healthy and exercising. Car accidents can be prevented by being more aware, and focusing on driving instead of text messaging on cell phones at every red light. The American individual needs to be more responsible so that the government can focus on bigger things such as terrorism.
If America had given homeland security as much attention five years ago as it does today, the twin towers may still be standing. The events on September 11th, 2001 should have never happened to a country with as much resource and technology as America. It is difficult to understand why a country that has enough technology to create human body parts from stem cells would not have the technology to prevent a terrorist from boarding and taking over a U.S. airplane.
We made the mistake of not worrying about terrorism enough in the past. Now America needs to learn from that mistake and look towards the future. Many people think that we are spending too much on counter terrorism. Since September 11th, America has spent 18 billion dollars combating terrorism (Source 2). That may sound like a lot, but not when we had a total of $1,946 trillion dollars of expenditures in 2003 alone
Already, an act known as the USA PATRIOT Act (Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism) has prevented terrorist attacks and saved American lives. This act has made warrants more applicable across state and district lines, eliminating the need to obtain multiple warrants for the same person. This was a lengthy process that previously hindered counterterrorism efforts (Source 3). The USA PATROT Act has also given law enforcement officials better tools to fight terrorism such as roving wire taps and the capacity to seize assets and end financial counterfeiting, smuggling and money-laundering. The act has also allowed judges to impose stiffer sentences on terrorists. The dramatic increase in information sharing allowed by the USA PATRIOT Act has enabled law enforcement to find and dismantle terror cells in Portland, Oregon; Lackawanna, New York, and Northern Virginia (Source 3). Imagine the countless lives that could have been lost if these acts of prevention had not taken place.
Preventing acts of terrorism is one thing we as a country should always be concentrating on. The minute we push it aside and disregard it as a smaller problem than it is, we will get attacked. As Americans and as individuals we need to be more responsible for problems we can prevent such as heart disease and automobile accidents. That way, we can let the government focus their time, energy and money on protecting us from things that we have no control over, like terrorism.
Source1: The Aims of Argument
Timothy W. Cruius, Carolyn E. Channell
Source 2: http://www.csbaonline.org/4Publications/Archive/B.20020124.US_Funding_for_Hom/B.20020124.US_Funding_for_Hom.htm
Source 3: http://www.cnn.com/2001/us/09/11/chronology.attack/index.html
Source 4: http://www.epic.org/privacy/terrorism/usapatriot.html