The Perceptions And Realities Of Responding To Critical Incidents Essay Sample

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: America, Terrorism, United States, Security, Citizenship, Life, Democracy, Politics

Pages: 4

Words: 1100

Published: 2020/10/30

Abstract America is one of the nations that have experienced worst terror attacks in the history. These include the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993, the bombing of the Oklahoma Federal Building in 1995, the September 11th attacks in New York, 2001 bombings in Washington and Pennsylvania and the Boston Marathon Bombings in 2013. Since then the USA government has put up all measures to counter terrorism activity in the nation through amending laws and policies and employing strict security measures such as random security checks. The country is wary of a possible terrorist threat in the future especially with the many enemies that the country has and a crackdown on major terrorist consortiums such as the Al Qaeda. The possibility of a security threat has led to more stringent and authoritarian security measures. Such measures represent an infringement on the rights and freedoms of the American people. The USA constitution protects the rights and freedoms of the American citizens to a great extent. However, in light of the need to avert major security threats, the government has gone an extent limiting the rights of people. Americans always prefer going about their daily businesses despite the possibility of a major security threat warning. Hence, there is a need to relinquish some of their rights to guarantee the safety of the public at large. Balancing civil liberty and civil safety are achievable through limiting oneself for the sake of the nation. Restricting security protocol is one way of giving the enemy an advantage. In the long run, this compromises the capacity of the nation, the government and citizens to combat terrorism.

The Perceptions and Realities of Responding to Critical Incidents

Introduction Events such as the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993, the bombing of the Oklahoma Federal Building in 1995, the September 11th bombings in New York etc. are some of the horrific memories that Americans have to go through each and every day (Whitehead & Aden, 2002). Unprecedentedly, the events have challenged both the USA government and American citizens to an extent that there is need to develop measures to counter any other terrorist act of high magnitude that would lead to loss of lives and destruction of property. To offset this challenge, appropriate law enforcement, and a strong military base would do. However, Americans need to stop thinking that acts of terrorism against the USA are primarily for a specific course or strategic purposes (Broder & Tucker, 2012). Remarkably, terrorism attacks are meant to maim life, destroy life and prove that still; there is something to build on. The implication is that Americans need to take the initiative to balance civil liberties and civil safety besides trusting and depending on the government for protection against acts of terrorism. It is important to note that bombs are devastating weapons of destruction that are ‘tested and true’. Apart from property destruction, they are evidently fatal, and their aftermath is also overwhelming. With this in mind, the terror events that characterize the history of USA serve as a basis for developing measure to counter any form of terrorism activity. Nevertheless, despite the efforts to counter terrorism activity, Americans are unwary of the dangers of terrorist attacks by preferring to have their freedoms without significant limits. Citizens would fight for the constitutional rights to go about their daily business without considering the possibility of a terror attack (Whitehead & Aden, 2002). Americans would be offended by intrusions into their privacy even when there is a known threat. For instance, an American citizen would rather prefer to risk their lives flying a plane flagged as ‘possible bomb aboard’ than postpone a trip. In essence, citizens do not want an infringement of their civil liberties for the sake of security despite the fact that their lives might be at stake. The paper aims at analyzing the security concerns in the USA by discussing how individual freedoms may compromise the safety of citizens and thus, recommending a possible solution to the same. To arrive at conclusions case analysis was used in respect to the topic of discussion.Discussion President George W. Bush once said, “We will not allow the enemy to win the war by changing our way of life or restricting our freedom” (New York Times, 2006). The President made the announcement a day after September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York. However, a few months after attacks the government’s efforts against terror attacks were shifting course by amending major national security policies and by that compromising the significance that USA citizens had placed on their civil liberties. Most people have viewed these actions as threatening even to the constitutional rights of the American people (Whitehead & Aden, 2002). As much as there is need to stop terrorism activity, citizens think that their civil liberties should not be trammeled to an extent that it compromises their privacy. For instance, an individual would not allow a search of his/her property without prior notice or by force in the event that there is a possible security threat. Further, individuals would go ahead to prosecute and attempt to search premises without notice or to have a tracker implanted on their cars (Whitehead & Aden, 2002). The implication is that even if it is true that the threat exists, on event that an individual refuses a search of the premises without prior notice, then lives and property will be lost for such a mistake. However, if the individual allows the search, then the threat can be neutralized and hence, save lives and property.
Suicide bombing is one of the worst terror attacks in the world. First of all, it is hard to discover that one’s neighbor or friend is carrying a bomb to a hotel, government building or a spot filled with American citizens. Secondly, history has it that suicide bombing is of great magnitude and takes a lot of lives because, once the bomber has established a target, the only thing remaining is to blow them up. Notably, suicide bombing is not prevalent in the USA compared to other countries. However, institutions like the FBI have predicted the possibility of a suicide bomb attack somewhere in the USA. While most citizens still hold on to their civil liberties, when such a threat exists, it is evident that most lives will be lost. For instance, while an individual might be mad for the government tapping their telephone calls or monitoring messages and e-mails, they need to understand that it is of great essence that a threat be neutralized before it happens. Civil safety is far much more significant compared to civil liberties. The significance explains why even the USA Supreme Court upholds restrictive laws when it comes to protecting the lives of American citizens even when they threaten rights protected by the constitution (USA Patriot Act, 2001). Cultural relativism, a model developed to understand human way of life states that an individual’s self-preferences can never supersede or override the interests and preferences of other people, implying that it is fundamental to infringe one’s right to save a million other lives. The point is that, Americans need to relinquish some of their civil freedoms to guarantee the safety of their family, friends and other citizens. To achieve this, individuals should restrict and desist from exposing themselves possible terror threats by fighting for their rights. If one’s neighbor is hiding a device that he/she needs to detonate at a government facility, then it is within all possible means that the government should search all the premises in the neighborhood, listen to phone conversations, monitor messages and e-mails and, above all, track the movements of the people in the neighborhood. In this respect, the people living in the neighborhood need to renounce and give up some of their freedoms for their safety and the safety of the nation. However, fighting for one's rights and freedoms for the sake of a potential security threat is allowing the enemy to take advantage (USA Patriot Act, 2001). American citizens going about their businesses despite a security threat warning is giving the enemy an upper hand in conducting the terror attacks. For instance, in light of the fact that suicide bombing has been predicted to happen possibly, if citizens are to ignore a security warning and go about their daily businesses such as flying in, out and across the nation, then in event that it happens, then lots of lives and property that would otherwise been have saved will be lost (Broder & Tucker, 2012). The only solution is for the American citizens to allow for infringement of their freedoms to guarantee civil safety. Citizens simply need to deny themselves some of their rights in case of a possible security threat. Americans need to understand that freedoms forsaken today might, in one way or the other, be regained tomorrow hence neutralizing security threats such as a possible suicide bombing before lives are lost. Notably, it is better to avert a problem than deal with its consequences by looking for a possible solution. In the light of the need for Americans to relinquish their freedoms to achieve civil safety, the paper concludes that; history only repeats itself upon employing appropriate measures. A balance between civil safety and civil liberty is attainable when citizens take into account the need to save lives by allowing the infringement of their rights. Bombs do not choose what or who to hit. In fact, they are real, and Americans need to live with the same reality. Terrorist attacks are a drawback to the nation at large. Hence, individual freedoms should not inhibit the safety of other citizens. In essence, given the unpredictability of a terror attack, the only solution is to prevent while there is still chance to.


Broder, J. F., & Tucker, E., (2012). Risk Analysis and the Security Survey (4th Ed.). Waltham, MA: Butterworth-Heinemann.
President Bush’s Speech on Terrorism. September 6, 2006. Retrieved from <>. Accessed on 5th February 2015.
Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001 (USA Patriot Act), Pub. L. No. 107-56, 115 Stat. 272 (2001).
Whitehead, W. J., & Aden, H. S., (2002). Forfeiting “Enduring Freedom” For “Homeland Security”: A Constitutional Analysis of the USA Patriot Act and the Justice Department’s Anti Terrorism Initiatives. Charlottesville, Virginia: The Rutherford Institute.

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