Today, at the traditional Boston Pops Fourth of July concert, security is tight. People can’t bring backpacks, or coolers, or have drinks unless the drinks are transparent and are in transparent containers. People can’t sit close to the concert, either, and they have to agree to be searched by police officers if they want to attend at all. The Boston Police says that this level of heightened security is the new norm across the city.
“We have a threat that manifested itself on April 15, and we’re going to take that to heart,” says Boston police Chief Ed Davis. Of course, it’s not April 15 today. It’s July 4. In April, a small, temporary threat from two violent brothers manifested itself, and then it was de-manifested, as the brothers were found and brought under control. There’s no evidence that anyone else in Boston was involved in the marathon bombing. So, the threat of April is over, right?
Not according to Chief Davis. He says that the threat from April has merely changed: “As the threat evolves, our response has to evolve.” How, specifically, has the threat evolved? According to Davis himself, the threat has evolved by going away. Davis acknowledges that there is no specific threat to the Boston Pops that justifies the security.
Some people in Boston are embracing the new level of security as a method of expressing patriotic gratitude. Among them is Mary Ann Rollings, who says that she’s happy to have the restrictions. “Our soldiers are over there sacrificing their lives for us, so we can do a little bit of sacrifice ourselves,” Rollings says.
On this Fourth of July, I have an alternative proposal: Why don’t we just stop the sacrifices? Stop sacrificing soldiers. Stop sacrificing our liberty.
If we can master our irrational fears, we might start living as Americans again, in freedom.