With the second anniversary of 9/11 just around the corner, rumors and theories about another possible terrorist attack are in abundant supply. According to a recent CNN-USA Today-Gallup poll, 54 percent of Americans think that more attacks are likely during the next few weeks, and 80 percent believe that terrorists are already in the U.S. and are prepared to strike at any time.
There must be reason for concern--even the federal government has stepped up efforts to make it appear as if it is doing something to provide for the common defense. Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge announced on Monday his intentions to deputize 5,000 more sky marshals, calling it "another way we're meeting our goal to maximize resources to better protect our citizens."
Some may see this as a sign that the government is getting serious about fighting terrorism. Others may see it for what it is: yet another example of the government's unmatched ability to insult the intelligence of its citizens.
Far be it from me to suggest that our elected (and un-elected) representatives in the federal government are more concerned about their political careers than the actual security of the nation, but Sec. Ridge missed the perfect opportunity to call for a restoration of the Second Amendment. If there was ever a time to use the bully pulpit, this was it.
By refusing to even address the right to keep and bear arms, the feds are sending the message that ordinary citizens cannot be trusted. "We will protect you," they are saying. "Just go about your lives and let us do the job you are paying us to do. Don't worry your pretty little heads about arming yourselves. Only government law enforcement officers are qualified to carry firearms!"
You might take some comfort in knowing that there may or may not be an armed marshal that could try to thwart the plans of the terrorist or terrorists who may or may not be on your flight. But wouldn't it be more sensible--not to mention more cost-effective--to simply allow pilots and passengers to defend themselves?
The effort to arm commercial airline pilots is virtually non-existent. It took over a year-and-a-half to even get the program implemented, and now the government claims that the pilots who have actually been trained to carry a gun number only in the hundreds. With around 35,000 flights every day in this country, that doesn't sound too reassuring.
The hope some people have in seeing a bureaucratic solution to a problem created by bureaucrats would be laughable if it wasn't so disturbing. I think we have all seen the results of Washington's idea of airport security. Isn't it about time we start hounding our representatives to start respecting the Constitution they swore to preserve, protect and defend?
What the politicians in Washington just can't seem to understand is that, despite all of their efforts, the U.S. is still relatively defenseless. In the time it takes to implement Ridge's plan to hire more sky marshals, thousands more Americans could become prey for blood-thirsty terrorists.
We could have hundreds of thousands of troops stationed in the Middle East. We could start drafting teenagers for military service and send them off to die overseas. We could wage war against everyone who dares to look at us the wrong way, but no matter what we do to help us sleep better at night, there is no defense against the brand of terrorism we saw on 9/11 like a well-armed citizenry. The sooner the government realizes that, the safer all of us will be.