Uzi Darwiche/ Staff Writer
I will never forget that day.
I was at my school locker trying to get the right combination when I heard one of the lunch crew say that some airplanes had hit the towers and that they had collapsed.
I had been inside the towers three months earlier with my mother, so at first, I thought he was telling a really bad joke.
How I wish that was the case.
But that was the day our lives changed and we were rudely awakened by the cruel reality of terrorism.
It has now been 17 years since the 9/11 attacks, and although it seems like a lifetime ago, the question must be asked – are we safer today?
In 2018, small remnant al-Qaeda forces remain in Syrian territory, and fledgling pockets of ISIS
fighters have been all but eradicated. But make no mistake, terrorism remains a real threat.
With the surge in lone wolf attacks, sleeper cells and even mass shootings, it seems we have yet to recall the lessons of history.
And while our students may have been too young to remember, our law enforcement community can never forget and has taken every step to prevent such incidents from ever taking place.
“September 11 the changed a lot for law enforcement,” said FIU Police Chief Alexander Casas.
“I can say with absolute certainty that we are safer today from threats both foreign and domestic.”
Casas also believes that the “See Something Say Something” campaign, which encourages the public to contact law enforcement if something doesn’t appear safe or correct in their eyes, allows the department to prevent threats from becoming attacks.
In light of the Parkland shooting, new measures of security have been introduced to public high schools all over South Florida, but what about our universities?
What about cafes, banks and shopping malls?
More interactive cooperation between police and a more informed population is the answer.
With professionally trained officers stationed all over our school and most if not all of our students trained to report any and all suspicious activity, any would-be attackers would think twice about their intentions.
In truth, it is impossible to prevent every incident from occurring, but we can reduce the risk and prevent greater tragedies from impacting our community.
The community should be introduced to a more interactive cooperative program with
our law enforcement community, not only teaching people to report suspicious activity but
actively training them on how to react and respond in emergency situations.
Among the most valuable lessons of 9/11 is that America’s enemies are constantly changing and adapting to new strategies.
In turn, we should be ready to work more closely with law enforcement by constantly updating and adapting our own strategy.
It is up to each of us to keep both our community and our country safe.
The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of PantherNOW Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.
Photo by Roman Koester on Unsplash.