I was interviewed twice today about the terrorist arrests in England. The local public radio station (WFPL) talked to me around noon, and then WHAS TV came by at 2 pm.
So far, I haven't heard or seen either broadcast, but I presume they won't use more than 20 to 45 seconds of tape even though I talked for 5 to 10 minutes to each of the reporters.
Basically, I said that these kinds of arrests reflect good intelligence and police work, and are arguably the most important part of the "war on terror" as most people think of it. There are reports that some of the suspects are linked to Pakistan and US officials are already suggesting al Qaeda connections. If the plot to blow up multiple planes had been successful, it would have been nearly as dramatic -- and traumatic as 9/11.
Of course, I also mentioned that the risks of terrorism are relatively low. It has been nearly 5 years since 9/11 and few Americans have died in terror attacks. This doesn't mean that law enforcement and intell officers should not be vigilant, but it does suggest that the general public has little need to live in a constant state of heightened fear and anxiety.
The risk of terror attack is sort of like the risk of dying in a lightening strike. It's horrible when it happens, but society survives and there is no need to turn the nation into a police state. There is no way to eliminate every risk of terrorism (bombs in stadiums, schools, etc.) and many freedoms would be lost if we tried too hard to limit behavior.
In any case, the arrests were certainly good news.
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