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AS I SEE IT

Posted 9/13/16 (Tue)

By Neal A. Shipman
Farmer Editor

This past Sunday Americans took time to remember that tragic event 15 years ago on Sept. 11, 2001, when nearly 3,000 American lives were lost when terrorists hijacked and crashed commercial airliners into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
That terrorist attack on Americans and on American soil raised public outrage and led to the subsequent War on Terrorism that is still being fought today.
While the group responsible for those attacks, al Qaeda, is a shadow of its former self, that does not mean that other radical Islamic groups have not stepped forward to wage war against the United States and other countries. We’ve seen the rise of ISIS and the lone wolves who seek to spread their brand of hatred and violence across the globe.
So the question is, are we, as a nation, safer today from the threats of a terrorism attack than we were 15 years ago?
The obvious answer is, yes.
New security protocol implemented since 9/11 quite literally touches every aspect of our lives, especially when we choose to travel by air. TSA officials at airports screen us and our luggage. And there is enhanced security at all public transportation stations in our major cities.
Nationally, our security systems have been increased, our intelligence agencies have expanded and across the country, local law enforcement agencies are better equipped and trained to identify and track potential terrorists.
While the possibility of a terrorist attack similar to that of 15 years ago seems remote, that doesn’t mean that some other form of an equally deadly terrorist attack couldn’t happen. It could be the release of biological germs or a dirty “nuclear” weapon in a public area. One has no idea what these terrorists are capable of, or willing, to do.
Without a doubt, ISIS is being battered by America and its coalition forces in the Middle East. But whether or not ISIS goes the way of the al Qaeda, we know one thing is for sure. There will always be Islamic terrorists who are bent on killing Americans and others who do not believe the way that they do.
And so Americans and the rest of the free world must remain vigilant. The terrorists, while their names may change, will always exist. When one group goes away, another will replace it.
And that is the lesson that America learned on Sept. 11, 2001. And it is a lesson that we can never forget.
Yes, we have had to learn to live with screenings at airports and other minor inconveniences when we travel. And we have had to accept the fact that we may be on a camera when we are in major metropolitan areas.
But by and large, these inconveniences are working at keeping America safer than we were on Sept. 11, 2001.