The Terrorist Threat to Freedom

Terrorist Threat

The winter Olympics are coming soon and will be held in the Russian city of Sochi. There are concerns about security at the Olympics which were illustrated by a Chechen terrorist threat against the city of Volgograd twice within twenty-four hours.

These attacks were likely made by Muslims from Chechnya; which has been in a two-decades long war with Russia to become an independent nation.

These types of attacks represent a real threat to our freedom and our way of life. Obviously they did not occur in the United States but we’ve seen similar murderous rampages in this country from both Muslim extremest and domestic terrorists.

After the Sochi attacks the head of state of Russia, Vladimir Putin, made some strong statements about the actions that would be taken by the state. In the comments section below the story I noted that the vast majority of people not only agreed with Putin, that violence should be met with more violence, but they felt that Putin was the sort of leader they would prefer to have in the White House.

A tough-talking leader who promises that all enemies will be destroyed and that the safety of the people will be guaranteed by annihilating said enemies is a natural result of a terrorist threat. People are frightened and want assurances and vengeance. I suggest that this sort of leader is the greatest threat terrorism brings. This sort of leader is a far greater threat to your freedom than are the terrorists.

I do not want a leader of Putin’s ilk to rise in the United States.

Let’s take a little trip in time back to September of 2004. A group of Chechen and Ingush terrorists attacked School Number One in the Russian town of Beslan. The attack ended when Russian forces stormed the school killing the terrorists. 334 hostages, including 186 children, also died.

What’s important to remember is the aftermath of the terrorist threat. Putin ordered sweeping security changes which were approved by the democratically elected government. These changes strongly centralized the government and changed the constitution in a number of ways, all in the name of security, of safety.

In Russia the leeway given to security forces in detaining and spying on citizens was increased. Laws were strengthened so that people could be arrested more easily.

It’s also important to note that almost all of the terrorists in the attack had suffered from Russian security measures in Chechnya and Ingush. They had family members killed or imprisoned, homes destroyed, or property confiscated.

Does any of this sound familiar?

It is only fair to note; such measures do increase security from outside attacks but, as the more recent terror attacks make clear, they do not guarantee safety.

Terrorists attack are a threat to our freedoms because they cause us to be afraid. We make changes to our laws that often represent a far greater threat to our safety than the terror attacks themselves.

People would be wise to remember the lessons of history. Increasing the powers of the police, giving more authority to the central government, and taking strong measures to ensure your security might seem to increase your safety but in reality they leave you more vulnerable.

I’m certainly not saying security measures should be completely abandoned. I’m just suggesting that we carefully implement them so as to safeguard our freedoms and our bodies.

If enough people in the United States want a President like Putin, it will not be long before we have one.

Tom Liberman