September 11th Shocked and Enraged Many People, Research Paper

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September 11th shocked and enraged many people, in the United States and around the world. With that shock came a cry for change, a tightening of the open and free society in which we live. September 11th was an unprecedented occurrence, leaving many people personally affected and still others traumatized by the severity of the events and the seemingly senseless act against civilians. "What happened on September 11 is unparalleled by anything we have ever known. The attacks killed more than 5,000 people, injured tens of thousands more, and caused economic hardship and grief to hundreds of thousands more. From the New York attacks alone, more than 10,000 people lost a parent." (O'Brien, 2001, pg. 425)

This research work will attempt to analyze the real circumstances of change in the border between the U.S. And Canada since September 11th. It will answer several questions associated with the potential or real changes between pre-September 11th and post September 11th border crossing and security. Nearing the close of 2003 and having just recognized the second anniversary of the terrorist attacks upon the U.S. which occurred on September 11th and shook the nation with senseless loss, and at the end of the active combat in Afghanistan and Iraq, the so called war on terror, there are many pressing questions, in need of answers. The most pressing of which is, has anything changed, are our borders safer and is our government, both national and local more equipped to deal with future breeches in national security. One of the most fundamental questions then becomes, are our borders safer than they were before September 11th.

Prior to terrorism as the main focus upon which our borders, and really all entrance points into the U.S. were protected was based solely on issues of illegal immigration and contraband, illegal drugs and the like. (Cornelius, 2001, pg. 661-680)

(Dunn, 2001, pg. 7-18) In fact looking at a relatively brief literature review on the issues of border security, prior to September 11th it is evident that the word and concept of terrorism rarely if ever even enters the researcher's agenda, (Nevins, 2001, pg. 136) and when it does the questions possible losses of civil liberties seems to be the most pressing (Reinares, 1998, p. 351)

It is also safe to say that it is likely that it would have comet o the forefront of scholarly or popular thought had something so severe not occurred, as can be evidenced by the earlier terrorist events that have occurred in the last twenty years in the U.S., and the lack of lasting effect they had on public and governmental opinion, note the earlier bombing of the World Trade Center and also the foiled west coast bomber, who in retrospect breeched the very border in question in this work. It is only in retrospect that these issues even come back to the forefront. As one researcher pointed out retrospect can even be short lived, as the 1993 bombing of the "parking garage" of the WTC became old news quickly, just as the 1920 bombing of the financial district in New York did so many years before. (Macneal, 1993, pg. 469) In fact it is unlikely that many readers of this work were even aware of the 1920 predecessor to 1993 and 2001. Even the Oklahoma City bombing, and act of internal rather than international terrorism lost air time tragically soon, despite the tragic loss of life and liberty. Most lasting press coverage has had to do with the character, identity, and trial of the convicted bomber, Timothy McVeigh (Esposito, 1998, pg. 22), or even less impressive the IT, banking and communication lessons learned form the devastation at Oklahoma city. (Dozier, 1998, pg.13-17) ("Lessons learned from the Oklahoma City terror bombing," 1996, 12-17) Some scholarly work on international terrorism had touched upon the threat, but it is plain to see that even the focus of the government, CIA, FBI and the like was and remains to be the threat that technological advances, have upon the security of our nation and all others.

Now, the technology of transportation about the planet has advanced to the point where it has become increasingly easy to plan and implement highly destructive terrorist actions in the territory of another state, whether the technique of destruction is by electronic or kinetic intervention, or by conventional explosive, nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons. (Reisman, 1999, p. 3)

In retrospect this scholarly researcher had a far better grasp of potential threat than did the average American, even those in high-ranking protective positions. Yet, none really grasped the concept of how easy it would be to stage an attack with just the technology of transportation. When we American's thought of terrorism, in the past we thought of science fiction, nuclear weapons, fertilizer bombs and technology, not civilian aircraft turned into lethal weapons. It is for this reason among others that it has become increasingly important that individual people, rather than their weapons, be the object of suspicion, not because they have TNT but because they have knowledge and convictions that threaten to harm the long standing physical and psychological security of our nation.

The diffusion of modern technology, the astonishing proliferation of information about the ways and means of conducting terrorist actions, and the amplification of the damage that terrorists now seem capable of wreaking, seem likely to make terrorism more attractive to would-be users and, as a result, of vastly heightened concern to an increasingly large class of potential targets. (Reisman, 1999, p. 3)

Some have even argued in favor of greater drug enforcement policies, simply because it has been found in the past that drug profits often line the pockets of terrorist organizations. One only has to employ brief memory to recall the anti-drug-anti-terrorism adds that began shortly after the terrorist attacks, at the urgency of the president. Yet it is not difficult to assume that this is simply an attempt to persuade the public to continue to focus attention on the funding of the anti-drug "war" because in the past it has been one of the most effective ways to establish and keep funding projects sensitive to national security. (Cornelius, 2001, pg. 661-680)

Since that time the issues have become more on who, among those who are entering the U.S., at record numbers, is a threat to the life and property within our borders. The changes, no matter how minor make human rights and civil liberties proponents, of which there are many in the relatively free society we inhabit, balk at loss of freedom. Many would even say that the most precious of our civil liberties, the right to privacy are being unduly challenged. While still others are saying that the safety of our nation, and her people is a good enough cause to allow for the personal sacrifice of some freedoms.

The events of September 11th with the addition of a few previous terrorist threats that had been traced back to border crossings, the U.S.-Canadian border, as well as the southern border between Mexico and the U.S. (Dunn, 2001, pg. 7-18), have come under a tough and critical analysis. Yet, most would say that the call for continued scrutiny and heightened vigilance is far from over.

There is more than enough evidence to demonstrate the lack of collaborative activity. Interorganizational capacity does not arise as a natural product of government organization based on a functional division of labor. Public administration analysts have long pointed out the gaps in integration in many fields, from human services to drug control. (Wise, 2002, pg. 134)

Therefore the government has made its greatest efforts in communication with regards to information sharing with the intentions of easing and increasing the rapidity of responses to possible threats.

An initial determination was made by the president that sufficient organization was woefully lacking, and he established the Office of Homeland Security by executive order on October 8, 2001, less than one month after the terrorist attacks. The establishment of the office -- headed by the new Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and involving the new Homeland Security Council -- has not ended the scrutiny and debate over the appropriate organizational system needed by the federal government to meet impending terrorist threats. (Wise, 2002, pg. 134)

Both immediately after and during the ensuing years questions about the fitness of the U.S. government have been raised. The Scrutiny has included, domestic flight security, international flight security, security of cargo flights, sea port security, security from biological terrorism as well as border security. One of the major concerns that have been raised about such security issues has to do with staffing of border check stations in between Canada and the U.S.

The events of September 11 have prompted vastly heightened scrutiny of many aspects of government functioning, as major wars and national cataclysms have done in the past. Few aspects, perhaps, have received more attention than the question of whether government in general, and the federal government in…

Sources Used in Document:


Akram, S.M. (2002). The aftermath of September 11, 2001: The targeting of Arabs and Muslims in America. 61-87.

Cornelius, W.A. (2001). Death at the Border: Efficacy and Unintended consequences of U.S. Immigration Control Policy. Population and Development Review, 27(4), 661-680.

Dozier, D. (1998). Employee communications at Kerr-McGee in the aftermath of the Oklahoma City bombing. Public Relations Quarterly, 43(2), 13-17.

Dunn, T.J. (2001). Border militarization via drug and immigration enforcement: Human rights implications. Social Justice, 28(2), 7-18.

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