Oliver WingerMr. StancilAP Lang12/18/17Freedom After the terror attack on the twin towers on September 11, 2001, people were baffled that someone could have completely demolished their entire sense of security so quickly. If it weren’t for the president at the time, George W. Bush, and his passing of such a large amount of legislature to increase security, people most likely would have gone absolutely insane over the fact that it was technically feasible that on the plane down to visit Aunt Sue in Destin.
A member of any outspoken terrorist group could quite simply hijack the plane and crash it into any number of buildings or monuments important to our nation. As H. L. Mencken put it, “The average man does not want to be free. He simply wants to be safe.” By stating this, Mencken tries to state how people would be willing to give up certain freedoms if it meant that they could be out of harm’s way, which completely coincides with the way the citizens of America carry themselves. The USA Patriot Act was passed after the terror attacks on 9/11. The ten later abbreviation stands for Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001.
Essentially George W. Bush had the purpose of making things like plane terminals, borders, etc. much more secure so that something like this wouldn’t be able to happen again so easily, allowing for the searching of suspicious persons trying to board a plane, regardless of the racial profiling that could be involved, as long as a feeling of a genuine threat is held.
The Patriot Act also allowed for the government to be able to tap into things like E-mail, phone calls, or text messages if they were under the impression that terrorist activities could be involved. People have obliged and are willing to give up some of that freedom with their privacy, as long as it is to better their safety and improve the security of the country. To be safe is essentially the state of mind where you are not afraid of something unexpected or dangerous to happen. “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” FDR had it wrong in his first inaugural address. Fear isn’t the problem with America, it’s the fear in all of the irrational things like shark attacks or kidnappings.
It seems as if people require to be safe at all times, regardless of a very low probability of risk. This is why as children we were never allowed to ride a bike without a helmet or go to the mall with friends alone. There are many very present dangers out there which most definitely should be addressed, such as driving under the influence of alcohol, which accounts for on average over ten thousand completely unnecessary deaths per year, roughly a third of all traffic-related deaths. Just this past summer a close family friend was on the way home from a bike ride, less than two miles away from her house, and was hit by a drunk driver in a lifted pick up truck.
Instantly killed. Wife and mother of three. Everyone who lived in the area was willing to give up their freedom, putting up brighter light poles, reduced speed limits, repaving the road, all for respect and making it a safer place. If it wasn’t for a nice older gentleman with a security camera in his barn to keep out intruders, the man who had committed multiple felonies and had a warrant out for his arrest, never would have been taken into custody. You give up freedom in owning a vehicle. Laws must be obeyed, and if they are not, you are ticketed or even given jail time, for the safety of others.
With a license plate, anyone and everyone can be identified and tracked down, something you concede with when you agree to operate a motor vehicle on roads. Again, it is all for the individual’s sake, if you weren’t put in hot water for breaking the law and putting other people’s lives at risk, what would stop someone from doing it all over again? While people for the most part value safety over being free, under the surface some seem to crave freedom. Just take a look at Jon Krakauer’s book “Into the Wild,” and the Sean Penn-directed movie of the same name, Christopher McCandless (who later renamed himself “Alexander Supertramp”) was an American itinerant who had often dreamed of an Alaskan Odyssey in which he would trek off the land, far from civilization. Though he was well-educated, his upper-middle-class background and academic success only fueled his contempt for what he saw as the empty materialism of society. Tragically, after living out his adventure for 113 days in the Alaskan wilderness, McCandless died of starvation in late August of 1992.
Most people would grimace at the thought of traveling out into the Alaskan wilderness, due to the fact that they would rather the safety of their home in developed society over the freedom in the dangerous wilderness, but that’s exactly what Christopher wanted.Mencken