As the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India reach the end of the third day, more than 125 people lay dead, with twice that number wounded. All day, I’ve been away from the computer and away from the news. I was sad when I saw it was still going on.
It’s understandable that, while gathered with family over the past few days, the blood and gore and flames and guns on the news stations may not be the best or most popular choice for viewing. Still, I hope that a lot of people are watching and listening or at least following along, as the attacks of the past few days should really offer a sobering reminder of just how open and unprepared we are here in America.
These terrorists, after all, weren’t people who hatched an elaborate plan involving flight training, airport security, simultaneous cockpit incursions, and more. These were gunmen. These were people who, by one account in The Scotsman, “looked like any student” before opening fire and killing dozens. Sure, they had automatic rifles. Sure, they had zodiac-style boats. Sure, they simultaneously attacked about ten different locations. Absolutely, it is fairly obvious that the terrorists were not a bunch of fly0-by-night yahoos, but nothing so far shows that they did anything extraordinarily difficult from a tactical or strategic standpoint.
We are so wide open here in the United States. Many of our shopping malls and schools are in so-called “gun-free zones,” meaning that only law enforcement officers and those with ill intent are permitted to carry firearms on and around the premises in question. The problem, however, is that when seconds count, the police are minutes away. In 1984, 21 people were shot dead in a Southern California McDonald’s; in 1991, 23 were killed in a Killeen, Texas cafeteria shooting; in 1999, of course, 13 were shot and killed at Columbine High School (on the very day that the Colorado state legislature was to vote on concealed carry legislation); in 2007 alone, five were killed in Salt Lake City’s Trolley Square Mall in February by a shooter, 32 were shot to death at Virginia Tech in April and, at this time last year, another eight were murdered by a gunman at an Omaha mall. Then, there were four separate school shootings in February of this year alone. All of those attacks happened in so-called “Gun-Free” zones, but none of the shooters were involved in a terrorist group of any sort. Point being, not only do we defeat ourselves with a politically-correct, it’s-not-gonna-happen-to-me attitude toward foreign policy and Islamic terrorism, we handcuff ourselves with ridiculous legislation, guidelines and social norms in our own country as well.
When I was at the King of Prussia Mall last week, I saw thousands upon thousands of people, and not a single security guard. Maybe they were there and were in plain clothes. Maybe their Segway transporter moves so quickly that I couldn’t see it. Regardless, it dawned on me then just how open we would be to a simple attack — it’s a shame it actually happened in Mumbai a few days later.
Of course, a gun on every hip will not prevent a Mumbai-style attack on American soil. If the Islamic fundamentalists want us–and they do–they will certainly try. Only a proactive overseas approach toward terrorism in general, coupled with increased security here at home and a growing intolerance for meritless political correctness can stop a tragedy in the planning stages and beyond. Remember, after all, the six people currently on trial in New Jersey for planning to attack Fort Dix.
We must continue to take the fight to the streets of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan, rather than tuck our tails between our legs and invite those who hate us into the neighborhoods in Baltimore or the suburbs of Los Angeles. We must close our northern and especially our southern border at home. We must continue responsible surveillance and foster an increase in educated human intelligence.
Most of all, though, we cannot let these attacks fall back into the recesses of our minds, victim of a gnat-like attention span more interested in Dancing With the Stars than Special Report with Brit Hume. Talk to your families about it. Talk to your coworkers.
In the meantime, while I don’t often get religious here at America’s Right, remember that each and every day on this Earth is a blessing from God. We should thank Him for letting us be here in the first place, pray for those who fight and sacrifice to keep us free and safe, and certainly for those who didn’t make it out of their hotels and community centers in Mumbai.