September 10th, 2011
07:00 AM ET

Letters to the President: #964 'Not afraid'

Reporter's Note: President Obama, along with many of us, will make the anniversary of 9/11 this weekend.

Dear Mr. President,

I was dismayed over the past couple of days to hear all the kerfuffle over this possible, maybe, could be threat of a new terror attack on the anniversary of 9/11. But I wasn’t upset for the reason you may suspect.

I take seriously the idea that we have real enemies who might…indeed, who will…attack us again some day. I will feel terrible for the victims and for our country the day it happens. But I will not live in fear and trembling every time a whiff of danger blows our way. And too often, when we encounter reports such as this most recent one, I fear that is our reaction.

Does a terrorist even have to strike us anymore to achieve their end? Apparently not. It appears that all they have to do is create some sense of a possible threat and we begin punishing ourselves; wringing our hands, hiding in our homes, crashing our own economic markets, and repeating the endless warning “Be afraid.”

Don’t get me wrong. Such threats should be taken seriously and we should address them. But we must also rediscover our faith: That our intelligence and security systems can work; that we can endure even if a calamity comes our way; that life lived in fear is not really full life after all.

The way to defeat terror, quite simply, begins by not being terrorized. I realize that no leader wants to see an attack; and if one comes, he or she doesn’t want to be accused of failing to warn people of the danger. But there is a profound difference between informing the public, and alarming them. We need…from our politicians, our media, and ourselves…more of the former and less of the latter.

I hope you have a safe and relaxing weekend. I am sure I will.

Call if you have a moment.



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