The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Editorials

April 17, 2013

We can't cower in fear | There's no way to prevent all danger to U.S.

JOHNSTOWN — The images out of Boston on Monday were horrific.

The scenes from Patriots Day, which commemorates the battles of Lexington and Concord in the American Revolutionary War, reminded us again that we are in an ongoing fight against terrorism.

Though President Obama did not initially use the word, make no mistake about it, that’s exactly what Monday’s twin explosions near the finish line of the Boston Marathon were.

The physical damage done by the bombings was devastating, with at least three dead and more than 170 others injured. But the psychological damage could be ruinous.

Our world has changed significantly since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and events like those from Monday will always bring up painful reminders of our vulnerability. For no matter how powerful our national defense is, we’ll always be open to the possibility of a small-scale attack on our citizens.

With a country this massive, in terms of both population and geography, it’s simply not possible to protect against every potential danger every moment of every day.

And while we urge our security forces to be diligent and our citizens to be vigilant in doing everything they can to prevent such tragic attacks on our country, it’s impossible to “win” the so-called war on terror.

There is no specific enemy, no defined battlefield and no hope for a peace treaty.

Simply put, there’s no way to collectively stamp out the threat of a twisted individual who secretly harbors ill will toward our people and our way of life.

We will tighten our security at places and events seen as potential targets, we will heighten our efforts to uncover and disarm suspects before they become threats, but we can never completely eliminate the danger.

Even if that were possible, to do so would require us to forfeit too many of the freedoms that make this country so wonderful.

George Hancock, a local runner who is a frequent contributor to this page, was asked shortly after the attacks if it would cause him to give up competitive running. His response was simple, straightforward and definitive.

“No.”

We can’t give in to fear, can’t let go of what we love because something might happen. We need to push on, keep going.

Runners understand that.

So, too, will the person or persons responsible for Monday’s attacks.

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