Terrorists can't be allowed to rob us of our freedom

Monday, November 6, 2017

Those who would portray terrorism as exclusively associated with radical Islam might have difficulty making that case today.

Two of the five worst mass shootings in American history have occurred in the last 35 days, both committed by natural-born Americans with no apparent religious affiliation.

Sunday’s shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas, did have a religious component, of course, with the shooter bursting into the church his ex-inlaws apparently attended occasionally and killing 26 people, from infants to elderly.

Dishonorably discharged from the Air Force after a domestic assault charge, the shooter reportedly should not have been permitted to purchase the rifle he used in the attack.

He was shot at and chased down by two civilian passers-by and died in a crash, although it’s unclear whether his fatal wounds were self-inflicted or a result of pursuers’ gunfire.

What the two shootings and last week’s New York truck attack had in common, however, was their soft targets — a peaceful church service in Texas, a country music concert in Las Vegas, a bicycle path in Manhattan.

Making civilians fearful in public places are the very definition of terrorism, and they are the easiest targets for would-be terrorists to strike.

People attending public events probably notice increased security, from the prohibition of certain items to bag checks and metal detectors. SWAT-type security teams and sweeps of potential firing positions are likely to result from the Las Vegas sniper, and security guards at church services are becoming more and more common.

Experts urge members of the public to “be aware but not afraid,” be conscious of their surroundings and alert law enforcement if they spot anything suspicious.

Anti-terror efforts can’t help but infringe on our freedom and enjoyment of public events, but we must not allow the terrorists to rob us of our way of life.

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