We borrow those words from this smart essay on national security that was written in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Brussels this spring.
The author is a former assistant secretary at the Department of Homeland Security and a current member of the Department’s Homeland Security Advisory Council. The Advisory Council consists of top leaders from the worlds of business, government, and academia who provide the Department with real-world, independent advice on homeland security. So the author knows something of what she speaks.
And her essay is worth a read. In it, she answers some of the earnest questions she’s been asked over the years by friends and family.
- Should I buy a gun? “Only with training and safety measures at home, and certainly not to combat Islamic terrorists.”
- Is Times Square safe on New Year’s Eve? “Like every crowd scene, you have to stay alert, but security is high at events like that.”
- Is my family safe? “No, not entirely.”
What she means is that the government simply cannot reduce our vulnerabilities to zero, and even if it could, we wouldn’t want it to. Doing so would destroy the country we love and believe in and derail its great experiment with freedom. That experiment—for all its flaws and growing pains—was ahead of its time in the beginning, and it continues to serve as a model for the world today. The risks we tolerate, then, are not bad bargains just because an enemy can exploit them, and even as we try to minimize those risks and maximize our defenses, we must maintain our spirit.
But you should read her words for yourself.