Madison County Opinion...

SEPTEMBER 11, 2002


Column
By Frank Gillespie
The Madison County Journal
September 11, 2002

Frankly Speaking
We must
control our borders
It has been one year since the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington. We as a nation have had one year to figure out how the attack was carried out, and how we can prevent future attacks. Have we solved the problem? I don’t think so.
Congress and the president have enacted all kinds of laws, spent billions of dollars to set up new agencies, weakened our personal liberties and added to the weakness of our economy. We sent our military around the world to attack the facilities of the terrorist, and are planning other military attacks Have all these things made us any more safe. In my opinion, we are just as much in danger as we were a year ago.
With all this activity, we have failed to address the basic weakness that allowed haters of freedom to stage the 9-11 attacks. We have no practical way to trace undocumented aliens who move freely throughout the nation.
Most of the men who carried out the attacks a year ago were in the country illegally. Some entered the country under false pretenses. Others obtained legal documentation, and then ignored the deadline to leave. By whatever means, they had no trouble entering The United States and moving freely about the country.
They did not bring any special equipment, explosives, communications devices or other supplies. They obtained everything they needed from our economy. We even taught them to fly the airplanes!
The terrorist teams that will carry out the next attacks are already here. They are hard at work looking for opportunities, probing weaknesses, making plans, assembling equipment and laying the foundations for another assault. We don’t know where they are, or who they are.
They are not likely to use hijacked air planes again. They are likely to have non-arabian names. Their targets will not be in New York or Washington. They may not strike for many months. In order to achieve the greatest impact, they will attack when and where they are not expected, just like they did last year.
What should we be doing? First, we have to get control over our borders. This requires a series of actions.
First, make the documentation of visitors foolproof. Make sure that people who enter this nation go where they said they were going, and leave when it is time for them to leave. The documents should detail the visitor’s purpose in being here.
Second, any undocumented aliens found must be deported immediately. No matter who they are or how they got here, if they are not properly documented they should be on the next flight back to their home country.
If we want to be safe within our borders, we have to keep the terrorists out. It is as simple as that. And that is the one problem that all our current actions fail to solve.
Frank Gillispie is founder of The Madison County Journal. His web page can be accessed at www.mcga.net. His e-mail address is frankg@mcga.net.

Column
By Margie Richards
The Madison County Journal
September 11, 2002

A Moment With Margie
Another way to remember
This paper carries an unfortunate date on it’s cover, for Sept. 11 will never be seen as “just another day” of the year.
And unlike other significant days of remembrance or tragedy that carry names like Pearl Harbor or D-Day, the date itself - Sept. 11 (or 9-11) - has become the moniker of last year’s terrorist attacks. I find it kind of ironic that only one other day shares such a similarity. That day is July 4.
I have sworn off TV on Sept. 11, as well as most news shows for the week leading up to the first anniversary of the terroristic attacks. I don’t need to see that plane slam into the second tower one more time to remember the way I felt that day.
I’m sure the families of those who were killed don’t need it either.
And while I agree that it is important to never forget what happened or the sacrifices made on and since Sept. 11, instead of wallowing in the events of that day I think we would all be better off to look around us and see what the needs are in our own communities.
For example, local food banks need stocking - most of us (myself included) tend to only give around Christmas, but the need continues year round. Foster homes for children and animals are needed. Senior citizens and the disabled in nursing homes or living alone need someone to run errands, read, or just spend time with them. Schools need mentors. Volunteer fire departments need firemen and first responders. Charitable organizations need volunteers and money. The Red Cross is begging once again for blood. Even though citizens in skyscrapers are not being attacked by planes every day (thank God), people are being injured, having surgeries and facing other crises which require donor blood.
And while none of us can do all of these things, we can at least all do one.
It’s always fascinating to me how sometimes we respond to “high profile” things, while other equally tragic things go on all around us, ignored. Think how many people you know right now who are facing their own personal Sept. 11-type tragedy.
On a global level, think about the needs of the poor and diseased in famine-stricken and war-torn areas. There is always a need to be met.
While we are unique in some of our privileges and blessings, we are not unique in our suffering. We need to remember that too.
So while July 4 stands for celebration of the hard-won freedoms America enjoys, perhaps Sept. 11 will stand as a sobering reminder not to take those freedoms, or life, or each other, for granted.
Margie Richards is a reporter and office manager for the Madison County Journal.

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