Letter to the Editor: National security

Dear Editor:

Last week due the attacks in Paris, the French Parliament issued a “state of emergency” that would allow police to have more authority within the state for three months. They can enter homes, search property, and do things that some might consider extremely invasive. This is just another example of how extremist groups like ISIS have changed our ways of live as we know it.

These changes have been happening for a while now, and not to mention that within relatively the same time period there have been other attacks. From stabbings in Lebanon, the crash of the Russian plane over Egypt, and the Charlie Hebdo incident earlier in the year. A lot of people think it is our occupation on foreign soil during the war that has trigger this, but I think that is just the surface. 

This branch of extremism or Islamic Fascism comes down to a conflict of values. The West believes in modernity, while their view of Islam is based on a return to a 12th century caliphate. The same value system that blew up statues of Buddha in Afghanistan in 2001, bombed trains in Madrid and London, destroyed world heritage sites in Palmyra that date back 2000 years, and that has killed countless of other Muslims.

This isn’t just about Israel, America, and Jews. It isn’t about just ancient antiquity. It is an attack on Western culture because we represent something different from their view of religion. It’s an attack on women’s rights, free speech, freedom of religion, and voting. These terrorist groups intended to change what we stand for, to change our way of life. The West represents a clear cut cultural divide that is considered heresy, with the United States taking the lead due to our strong political, economic, and cultural influence. 

Just the expansion of police powers in France, could be a “canary in a coal mine” moment for us as well. We have a democracy in America, and a republican form of government. What this issue does is once again impose the question that in a free society, how much freedom are will willing to exchange for security? Some might argue that we can do both, but if current Europe is a case study then maybe not. There have already been cells hidden within the refugee movements and if anything happened here, there would be a negative blowback. How do we protect ourselves against an enemy based on our own values given in the Constitution, without “theoretically” becoming the un-American ourselves?

I remember both World Trade Center attacks. The first one was on a Friday, I was on my way to NY with my father and we heard it on the radio. The second, I was in high school in Detroit, and saw it live as numerous students cried due to having family and friends there. I remember seeing my mother on the phone, with my cousin who was on the D Train trying to get home to Brooklyn. I was in Atlanta in 1996 during the Centennial Park bombing which was where I learned the word “terrorism” for the first time. My point is I remember the pandemonium and rushes to judgement. I remember the public demanding stricter regulations for preventative measures. It each one of these instances, there were tests to our Constitution.

There are a lot of things that are thrown on the sacrificial grill of political correctness. I believe that national security must never be one of them. 

Johnathan Quevedo