News / USA

Post 9/11, Americans Seek to Balance Security, Civil Rights

Mike O'Sullivan

America's collective sense of security changed dramatically after terrorists attacked the United States on September 11, 2001. Many Americans now feel vulnerable, not only to more attacks, but to new measures meant to prevent terrorism.

Airport security

Travelers in the United States have faced heightened security at airports for the past 10 years.

Some measures still stir controversy, but for traveler Bob Dubois, they are necessary.

"I think it's something that we need in this day and economy as it is right now with what's going on," Dubois said. "You never know what's going to happen and the people that are out there, and I think that we need to do this."

Oscar Del Castillo agrees the new measures are needed.

"A few procedures, I'm not entirely pleased with, such as the full-body scans," he says. "However, I understand their importance."

Transportation Security Administration worker Shane Quintard , right, examines an unidentified passenger's items at a security checkpoint at Boston Logan International Airport (AP file photo)
AP photo

Profiling


Ameena Mirza Qazi, an attorney with the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Los Angeles, complains that the heightened procedures target observant Muslims.

"When I travel, I get pulled over almost every single time I go through security for extra pat-downs because of my head scarf," she says.

Although transportation security officials say they do not specifically target Muslims, many Muslims say they suffer discrimination.  Last year, a mosque near San Diego faced neighborhood protests over its plans to expand.

Civil rights advocates sued the Federal Bureau of Investigation earlier this year for allegedly using informants to monitor Muslims.  FBI officials would not comment, but they say they take action only when they suspect criminal behavior and that agents operate under strict guidelines.

Ahilan Arulanantham of the American Civil Liberties Union says those guidelines are too broad and intrusive. He says the nation's founding fathers lived in a time of turmoil after the revolutionary war and intended that basic rights enshrined in the constitution be sacrosanct.

"And the rules that they created were designed to protect us and strike that balance even during that time," Arulanantham explains.

Real threat

Steven Martinez of the FBI's Los Angeles office says the United States remains committed to an open society, but the risk of terrorism is real.

"If we want to maintain that sense of freedom, we’re always going to have vulnerabilities in places where people gather - theme parks, movie theaters, shopping malls," notes Martinez. "Those present opportunities for our adversaries and those are very, very difficult to secure."

Security expert Erroll Southers of the University of Southern California says Americans need to face, and manage, the new risks.

"The same as they're told about the challenges we have with earthquakes, fires, floods, hurricanes," Southers says. "This is a disaster of a man-enabled paradigm, so we should be educating them on what the real threats are. And then second, we should make sure they understand how they can help."

Southers says tips from the public are crucial in stopping terrorists, but effective security measures still must respect the rights of Americans. Finding the right balance is the hard part.

You May Like

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infectionsi
X
November 28, 2014 3:31 PM
South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infections

South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violence

The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.

All About America

AppleAndroid