U.S. still vulnerable to terror attacks

Most of us were glued to our television sets July 7, watching as Londoners coped with their own brand of terrorist attacks that have left more than 50 innocent civilians dead.

We’re scared. In this country, especially in large cities, we rely on public transportation. We don’t want a terrorist attack on buses or subways happening at home.

After Sept. 11, we decided it would be best to just assume that anyone of Middle-Eastern descent was a terrorist until proven otherwise. And while we haven’t had any airplanes hi-jacked since, we have bigger problems.

Richard Ben-Veniste, a member of the Sept. 11 commission, admitted that this country spends over 90 percent of its security money on aviation. This means only 10 percent of the total funds are being used to help protect our public transportation systems from terrorist attacks. If there has ever been a good time to use the cliché “putting all your eggs into one basket,” this is it.

Just because terrorists targeted planes once doesn’t mean they’ll do it again.

We have guards patrolling our nation’s public transportation systems — buses, subways, trains — probably looking for pissed off Arabs whom they think could possibly have bombs duct taped to their chests. But the Associated Press reports that London police are skeptical as to whether or not the bombs were set off by suicide bombers at all; because the three bombs were set off almost simultaneously, it is speculated that they were set off by timers. And we won’t know for sure until London police nab all of those responsible for the attack for questioning.

We should stop spending all of our money on the airlines and spread it out equally on all types of transportation. We are reinforcing the walls on the pilots’ cabin on airplanes and hiring additional security workers to remove people’s shoes in airports, yet what are we doing about the dark, decrepit corners of New York’s subway system?

We see one thing; we react to it. We speculate Iraq had something to do with Sept. 11; we bomb them and overthrow their leader. We see terrorists use planes to attack us; we dump all our money into planes.

But at what cost?

We live under this guise that the world is a much safer place after we invaded Iraq and that these color-coded terror alerts can protect us.

The world isn’t safer. Terror attacks still happen and will continue to happen. Terrorists are like cockroaches. Sure, you can bug bomb your house, and you’ll see the lifeless bodies of the filthy insects lying about the floor and feel good about yourself, but you neglect to notice the two or three of them that crawled their way into the walls. And it’s only a matter of time before they breed and you’re back to square one.

But if you clean up your lifestyle and clean up your house, the cockroaches suddenly aren’t interested anymore.

Maybe that’s what the United States should be looking into to stop terrorists. Cleaning up our image. And maybe, just maybe, we can walk into an airport or subway station and not be looking over our shoulders.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Summer Kent Stater editorial board.