Reading comprehension gone haywire

Mr. Laer has some very important points in this letter to the War Street Journal:

In the Face of Terror, Be Brave and Carry On

The terrorists want us to believe that we must combat this by sacrificing our core Western values of liberty, privacy and freedom of religion. This empowers them in the eyes of the public and the media.

In “Time to Remove the Surveillance Blinders” (Nov. 24), Michael J. Mukasey and Jamil N. Jaffer essentially argue—as many do—that terrorists have recently, and serially, undertaken large and organizationally sophisticated efforts to mobilize attacks against the West.

The terrorists want us to believe that we must combat this by sacrificing our core Western values of liberty, privacy and freedom of religion. This empowers them in the eyes of the public and the media, which perfectly serves their purposes, all centering around recruitment propaganda. It furthermore weakens us by attacking our society’s essential premises from within.

The truth is perhaps far more terrifying. Any fool with a gun can wreak such havoc: The Virginia Tech massacre, a bona fide freelance shooting, netted 32 victims. Do the math: If the shooter, armed with over-the-counter weapons (not even AK-47s), had been accompanied by another five other viciously like-minded people, they might easily have killed 192. The Virginia Tech killer would only have needed three companions to equal the Paris body count.

What this tells us is that in today’s world small groups of people operating in a largely (or even completely) independent manner have the ability to easily inflict terrorist massacres in any number of ways. They don’t need big organizations like ISIS or al Qaeda to do that, just their inspiration; and to react in the way that Western governments are now doing—which amounts to a wholesale panic—is absurd. We are unwittingly playing directly into the jihadists’ hands.

Citizens of the free world must understand that we live in dangerous times, acquire courage and go forward. Some of us will die. Our Founding Fathers feared tyranny more than they feared death. What we must not do is empower fear-mongering, reactionary bureaucrats, whether in America or abroad, to hijack and negate our civil liberties in pursuit of an imaginary “safety” from terrorism. We are not safe; and we won’t be, ever, no matter how many lives or guns, or how much money, we throw at the problem.

The cowardly seek safety; the brave serve, in all walks off life, at the risk of their lives. What we must be is informed and resolute as we choose between these options.

Lee van Laer

Sparkill, N.Y.

Fritz GROSZKRUGER1 hour ago

I wonder why people read The Journal if they cannot comprehend what is written there. The worshippers of big government would have us believe only huge and wasteful military operations can thwart an attack, when armed citizens are most likely to do so.

I can see how Mr. Laer’s letter could be misconstrued to mean he would not defend himself. But I think what he is saying is we are wrong to hand over our liberty to an organization (the government) that has proven itself to be better at taking our freedom than preserving it.

Molly Henick, your belief that our interventions have contributed to the common defense are unfounded. They have recruited scores of radical jihadists and your assumptions are idiotic.

Eleanor Drew
Eleanor Drew1 day ago

The government cannot Guarantee we will live to 80 years; and we cannot sue if they fail to protect us from salmonella on food, or car crashes, or berserk gunmen. You are taking your chances as you get out of bed every morning.

I play a game whenever in a store or restaurant- what are my chances of shooting a bystander if a terrorist stood by the register? They are too likely, which is why I do not want to play ‘Dirty Harry’. Besides, the chances of dying young are greater from other causes.

James Lockhart
James Lockhart1 day ago

Political correctness has pretty much tied the government’s hands. Any measures that are instituted to thwart terrorism must thus be applicable to everyone so that no racial, ethnic, religious, or national group is offended by being singled out. You can expect any new measures to be modeled after the TSA’s rules for screening or the NSA’s data collection.

K VOGELSANG1 day ago

Lee – good letter.  I read it as saying that the cowardly seek safety from their government.  There is nothing imprudent or cowardly about seeking safety.  The question is how many of our rights are we willing to sacrifice to an all powerful and ever growing government to supposedly insure that safety?

The Constitution recognized limits on the power of government to do much more than provide for a common defense (and create a post office or currency).

I know I do not feel safe when I’m amongst sheepish people.

molly henick
molly henick1 day ago

What an idiotic letter for the WSJ to print! The constitution is not a mutual suicide pact; nor am I

a coward because I wear a seat belt in a moving car; or avoid dangerous neighborhoods late at night. The governments primary mission is to provide for the common defense and provide safety/security to it’s citizenry. Prudence while not fool proof is mandatory. To argue otherwise is frankly moronic.

Paul Richardson
Paul Richardson1 day ago

“The cowardly seek safety”

Any rational person with common sense seeks safety.

The prudent and brave take the necessary steps to ensure the safety of others.

I also lock the doors to my house at night – stop calling me a coward.

“Some of us will die.”

The writer’s family’s death is acceptable!!!

9/11 was acceptable!

Lee van Laer is not a rational prudent person.

Rocco Papalia
Rocco Papalia2 days ago

Pretty faulty reasoning. What the Paris and V Tech victims have in common is that they were all unarmed. Contrast this with the Garland TX massacre that didn’t happen because the perps were shot dead on the spot. You ‘carry on’ Lee …. I prefer to ‘carry’.

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