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Ben Franklin's bifocals March 24, 2005

Mortal Danger

The recent tragic school shooting reminds us that we live in a dangerous world. We mourn the victims. We try to find it in our hearts to forgive the poor disturbed boy who committed the unspeakable acts. We wring our hands in frustration because we cannot seem to protect our most precious resource: the children.

In our search for answers, it is easy to install a bevy of new metal detectors and put more armed police into the schools. It is much harder to face up to the reality that life is a dangerous place to live in, and no matter what we do, no one is safe on the face of this planet. So please, good people, let us not rush to complete the task of turning our schools into prisons where the sound of laughter and spontaneity will no longer be heard at recess. If we lock down our schools we will succeed only in raising a generation of inmates.

The same is true of our country by the way. As we build fortresses and walls around the Capitol, the White House, the Statue of Liberty, and all of our national treasures, we succeed only in isolating them. They no longer belong to the people, nor do their occupants hear the voices of free men and women. These measures will surely destroy our democracy with greater certainty than any terrorist act, no matter how dastardly. We must stand up unafraid, secure in the knowledge that even when the terrorists strike again, they can blow up our buildings and kill our loved ones, but they cannot destroy the principles and the ideas that make this nation great. What in the world are we so afraid of?

William's Whimsical Words:

Being somewhat vulnerable to fanatics, extremists, and other disturbed people is the price of admission to a free and open society. It is also part of the price of admission to living.

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