Vigilant yet unafraid
By Judge Norman Krivosha, Federation President
No one of any sense can argue that the despicable acts committed by the two deranged brothers during the Boston Marathon were totally and absolutely unforgiveable. While as a member of a Court, called upon to rule on whether the death penalty should be imposed and generally dissenting from its use, these acts would have fallen into my limited sphere and I would have imposed the death penalty upon both brothers without any hesitation. Their acts forfeited their right to live among decent people.
But my one objection to the manner in which the two were treated by law enforcement personnel and the press was identifying them as “Terrorist.” In giving these two immoral humans the definition of a Terrorist, we elevated them to a place they did not deserve and must not be permitted to remain, even in death.
The dictionary defines “Terrorism” as the systematic use of violence to create a general climate of fear in a population and thereby bring about a particular political objective. And it is that very objective, creating a climate of fear, which we must not permit to happen or we lose and they win. As difficult as it may seem, only by refusing to become fearful, can we truly defeat these misguided persons.
Admittedly, the decisions one must make in a world filled by madmen are not easy, but necessary. In the late ’60s, I served as City Attorney for the city of Lincoln, Nebraska, home of the University of Nebraska and the University of Nebraska football team. On any given Saturday, Memorial Stadium was packed tightly to capacity with nearly 80,000 fans. And on every Friday before such a game, all of the law enforcement personnel met with me to decide what we would do if we received a call during the game claiming that a bomb had been planted in the stadium. The choices short of canceling the season were not many. But most important, we quickly decided that no matter how difficult the choices might be, canceling the normal life of many would not be an option. As dangerous as the prospect of a bomb might be, succumbing to the threats would be worse.
Our family and friends who live in Israel came to that decision long ago. And like so many things we can learn from them about life and living, refusing to submit to acts of terrorism is one. Israelis are faced with this very danger every day of their lives, but insist on living a normal existence, notwithstanding the potential danger. If a venue is bombed, the debris is quickly removed, the site restored and the facility is back in full use immediately.
The New York Marathon, the Fourth of July celebration and every other activity we normally engage in must be continued. We must be more vigilant but unafraid. We must pay more attention to announcements concerning unattended packages in public areas, but we must continue to occupy the public areas, unafraid of the possibilities. Only in this way do we defeat the forces that seek to destroy our way of life. Our message to these mad people must be clear. We cannot be intimidated. As former President Roosevelt admonished so long ago, “We have nothing to fear, but fear itself.” Let our actions speak louder than words. Let us not be fearful, thereby making it clear to those who would seek to do us harm, “You are wasting your time.”