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  • They Both Die at the End – General Review
    Summer break is the perfect opportunity to get back into reading. Adam Silvera’s (2017) novel, They Both Die at the End, can serve as a stepping stone into the realm of reading. The pace is fast, action-packed, and develops loveable characters. Also, Silvera switches point of view each chapter where narration mainly focuses on the protagonists, […]
  • My Favorite Book – Freshwater
    If there’s one book that I believe everyone should read once in their life, it’s my favorite book – Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi. From my course, Queer Literature under Dr. Bill Albertini, I discovered Emezi’s Freshwater (2018). Once more, my course, Creative Writing Thesis Workshop under Professor Amorak Huey, was instructed to present our favorite […]

Americans must use trust to build a safe future for everybody

Whenever I’m traveling (which is painfully frequently), a mysterious figure calls to me from an intercom and barrages me with instructions. ‘Report any unattended baggage.’ ‘Report any suspicious behavior.’ ‘Do not board the plane with anything that anyone could even construe as having a sharp edge.’ From what I can tell, everyone around me in airports and bus terminals is a potential enemy posing a constant threat to my life. How can I be expected to ride with these people for hours on end before reaching my final destination? I have high hopes that President Obama and his administration will be able to defeat terrorist plots, but that’s only half the problem in our post-9/11 society. Terrorists or no terrorists, we still don’t have any confidence that our fellow travelers won’t kill us when we board a plane. For years this has caused all sorts of travel inconveniences – if I’m traveling home for an off-term with half of my belongings in three oversized bags, how am I supposed to use the restroom when the TSA will interrogate me if I ask someone to watch my things? More importantly, however, we have lost the mutual trust that is a pillar of our society. We trust that when we pay for something, we will receive the value of the money we spent in goods or services. We trust that when we get on a bus, the driver will have enough skill behind the wheel to not get in an accident. Of course, sometimes this trust is breached, but usually when that happens, society unites to repair the damage done and pursues punishment for the wrongdoer. Not so for travel security. Admittedly, terrorist attacks on American soil are many degrees more horrifying than bus accidents. But we’ve been on a manhunt to find the wrongdoers for over seven years now, and still society has not taken confident steps to heal itself. In Rousseau’s terminology, our social contract has been breached, and no one seems to have enough confidence in his peers to repair it. We must all admit that we are at constant risk, everywhere we go, at all times. Yes, this is a blanket imperative that I am presumptuously assigning to all of us. Everyday people die in everyday situations in truly horrifying ways all the time. In 2005 alone, car accidents in the United States caused 2.9 million injuries and 42,636 deaths. Do we see such madness whenever we merge onto the highways, though? Of course not! Commuters watch other drivers break the speed limit and don’t feel the least bit alarmed. Whenever we see a car idling with no driver, we don’t immediately think ‘CAR BOMB!’ This is because we trust drivers not to kill us, even though they’re much more likely to than terrorists are – we’re more dangerous to ourselves than the people trying to get us. Car accidents are tragic, but part of everyday life, so we view death on the road as ‘normal.’ It is this attitude that we must re-establish in airports to keep our society productive and efficient. It is not one of nonchalance or ignorance of the dangers ahead of us; the attitude is one of trust that our fellow Americans are our best allies and friends in the fight against terror. Most travelers just want to get from point A to point B to go to business meetings or visit family or go on vacation. It might seem spurious, but when you consider all of the hours spent waiting in security lines, and the money spent paying for the extra security, the costs to society become much more real. This is all of course not to say that airport security isn’t important; that would be just absurd. There are plenty of easy security measures that we were not implementing before 9/11 for whatever reason, and those measures should be continued. However, there is only so much security that is reasonable. When ‘random’ searches become TSA policy (because guessing is the best way to capture terrorists), something is wrong with the system. Campaigns against drunk driving are acceptable, but establishing sobriety checkpoints at every highway on-ramp is not. From pre-societal times to the modern age, humans have always lived in danger. Threats are all around us, and our everyday habits often expose us to particularly dangerous environments. However, the best way to navigate life’s treacherous waters is not by suspecting everyone, but by working together and cooperating. I would rather not see distrust become the modus operandi of the 21st century’s social contract.

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