Homeland Security: A Personal Call to Action
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Most Americans leave homeland security efforts to government officials and emergency responders. Paul Andrews, adjunct professor for Saint Joseph's University’s Criminal Justice and Public Safety Institute and a nationally recognized expert in homeland security, has a different view. He suggests individuals must do their own part in protecting our country.
“Americans need to take responsibility for their own security,” Andrews says. “If someone observes something that they think is out of the ordinary, they should report it to the local authorities. Law enforcement agencies are doing everything within their resources to keep Americans safe, but vigilant citizens are the first line of defense in preventing terrorists’ attempts from becoming terrorist attacks.”
Full body scans, what some are calling “mind-reading” technology, and terrorist profiling are just a few of the proposed measures under consideration for preventing another attack on American soil – but are these potential freedom-limiting methods really the best response? Not necessarily, according to Andrews.
“We have to understand that the Jihadists won this round even though there were no deaths,” Andrews explains. “The attempted Christmas day attack has denied us some basic freedoms by limiting our privacy and making it more difficult to travel. The cost of airline travel will continue to increase. We may adjust to the increased security checks, but will have to pay the price in terms of money, time and personal freedom – precisely what the Jihadists are looking to take away.”
Andrews says that Americans should “expect to live the way Israeli citizens do,” where individual awareness of surroundings and personal responsibility for reporting suspicious activity to authorities is a way of life. “But, Americans should also expect that all agencies will openly share information and work collaboratively for this reporting to truly be effective,” Andrews says.
Paul Andrews has more than 30 years of experience in military and law enforcement intelligence. In his work as an adjunct professor at Saint Joseph's University, Andrews has contributed to the development of many undergraduate and graduate courses in terrorism, homeland security, criminal justice and intelligence analysis within Saint Joseph's Criminal Justice and Public Safety Institute.