The Free Press, Mankato, MN

April 23, 2013

Our View: Resilience is our best anti-terror weapon


The Free Press

— The events in Boston over the last week offer a grim reminder that we remain vulnerable to terrorist attacks but more importantly they remind us that we remain a resilient country, competent in our public safety and defiant in our American spirit.

While an attack on innocents always exceeds even the worst we can imagine of terrorist acts once the reality sets in, there are few things that unify us more. Whatever our political differences, we have one mind about what is needed when terrorism strikes. And to the extent that we can execute these defenses and counter attack en masse, shows we cannot be defeated by these cowardly acts.

The millions of people who stood together by listening to authorities when asked to stay home was unprecedented for a metropolitan area. It’s hard to imagine another people in any other city outside of the U.S. ever complying in this way. And that, in the end, became the key to capturing the terrorists. Resources were marshaled and amassed. Because  economic and social activity was halted, police had more resources to focus on the task at hand.

The people of Boston deserve our deep gratitude for assisting law enforcement at a time when many were feeling the collective pain terrorism can bring. They stood ready to do whatever was needed to defeat this enemy among them.

Our vigilance and perseverance and our public safety success strategies are not new phenomena. In fact, we should remember the Boston bombing was the first terrorist attack since 911 that succeeded in its evil goals. Many terrorist attack attempts have been thwarted by law enforcement and by the people.

While any successful terrorist attack is one too many, we can look to our record of prevention as one that remains impressive.

The FBI have successfully infiltrated many of these terrorist groups, apprehending them before they can act. Average citizens often provide the missing links and needed information to capture those who would do us harm. We need to remain vigilant, especially at big events where we remain vulnerable.

But the spirit of the American people will always be our greatest weapon. No matter how many times they try to make us believe they have more power than us, they will not gain one inch in this battle of good and evil. They can bomb our coffee shops and our shopping districts, but we will be back the next day or the next week, stronger than ever.

Unfortunately, terrorism has become a twisted and sickly tool for the angry and disaffected of the world. They’ve come to believe it can work. But when our spirit rebounds and we face down these horrific acts with resilience and defiance, we take one step at helping others learn that our response to terrorism only makes us stronger and gets more of the world on the side of good.