Volume 95, Issue 10

Tuesday, September 18, 2001
 
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EDITORIAL

Editorial Board 2001-2002

Paranoia makes public uneasy

Editorial Cartoon

Paranoia makes public uneasy

Are we getting too paranoid?

This is an interesting question, especially considering the circumstances of recent history. When the now infamous terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 took place in New York and Washington, North America woke up from a day dream and into a nightmare.

Not only was the peaceful "norm" of North American security lost through direct terrorist action, but now residents of this fair continent must deal with a loss of privacy in order to combat this threat.

Bomb threats are being made everywhere. Even London has fallen victim to these false accounts.

On Tuesday, according to London Police, two media outlets were informed that "suspicious packages" were en route to GM Diesel, Western and the London International Airport.

The police said during one of these phone calls, the word "bomb" was used. The police then informed the companies about these comuniques and, as a result, the companies beefed-up security. London Police are still investigating the calls.

It is obvious from images in newspapers and television that security everywhere has been tightened. But is it possible we're going overboard on security?

There is talk in the media that Major League Baseball is inspecting all players' bats before each game, in case one contains a bomb. They've also informed anyone involved in the game not to park their cars within 100 feet of the stadium.

Other major organizations are following suit, invoking similar security measures. A woman reportedly had her nailfile confiscated on an airline. Was it deemed a security threat for her to have fewer rough edges on her fingernails? Or was she going to single-handedly hijack a plane with it?

Even London businesses are putting extra security in shopping malls, grocery stores and other major areas where the public gathers.

The big question remians: is this effective at stopping potential incidents or will it just make customers pay more at the checkout counter in order to provide security guards' salaries?

It is a noble act for these merchants to spend the extra money on security. But it's doubtful a clean-cut kid, fresh out of a law enforcement and securities course is going to stop a bomb. Needing some kind of expertise in the matter is evident. After all, if terrorists can elude the CIA, security amateurs don't stand a chance.

Businesses should leave policing to the police. One of the government's roles is to protect the public. The crown provides this service because no one else will, since it delivers no profit.

It is not up to the private-sector, for it will elevate the price of goods and only provide an inferior and redundant service to what professional government agents can offer. More importantly, it gives people something to fear.

If this crisis in security is to be handled properly, people need to remain calm and rational.


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gazette.editor@uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 2001