Christine Wojtowicz Essay

10 Years After 9/11: Freedom or Security?

by Christine Wojtowicz
Avondale High School
November 21, 2011

On September 11th 2001, the United States was attacked by Al Qaeda terrorists. Two planes were hijacked and crashed into the World Trade Centers, killing almost three thousand people in New York. Now, ten years after this tragedy the nation struggles on balancing how to protect the nation against attacks without crossing the lines of civil liberties. The 9/11 event has impacted the nation as a whole. Due to the attack, there have been many debates about whether discrimination, torture and surveillance and security policies should be stricter or more lax.

Today, ten years after 9/11, many Americans discriminate against Arabs and Muslims. Not only adults but children too have experienced this problem. In Nijhawan’s article, “10 Years After 9/11: Civil Rights Still Under Attack” high school student Navneet Singh tells stories of his childhood. As a child, he was harassed by his schoolmates because he wore a turban. He was even punched in the face. Another student, Hani Khan faced discrimination in the workplace. She worked at Abercrombie and Fitch and was fired because she wore a hijab. She felt demoralized when asked to remove her scarf after being hired with it on. These are just a few examples of people who believe it is wrong for Americans to discriminate. Just because the citizens choose to wear turbans or hijabs, it doesn’t mean they support the events taken place on September 11th (Nijhawan). Another journalist however, believes “All Terrorists are Muslim, therefore all Muslims are terrorists” (Ginkminos). These problems of discrimination are covered under the fourteenth amendment.

Since 2001, there have been many changes in security and surveillance across America. According to Ethan Huff’s poll, around 66 percent of Americans indicated a willingness to give up a little more privacy and freedom to protect the nation against terrorism (Huff). Due to the attack, airports in the United States have drastically increased their security. Some examples include changes in the plane such as bulletproof, locked cockpit doors, cabin monitoring surveillance systems and provisions to arm pilots in the cockpit. Many Americans support the idea of increasing security to help create a safer environment (securitysoulutions.com). There have also been changes in the airport itself. A controversial surveillance system, the full body scanners, has been put in airports across the country. These body scanners can actually see through clothing and produces clear and detailed images of the body. Some believe this is an invasion of privacy and is not necessary for safety, especially children’s. The Fourth Amendment in the United States Constitution states “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” Therefore, several Americans feel they are losing freedom and being violated of privacy in places such as an airport (Admin).

Lastly, Torture. National Security Reporter, Jeremy Scahill, claims they are still learning more disturbing details of torture tactics that were authorized and encouraged at the highest levels of the Bush administration. Many Americans don’t understand why the government is using sick torture tactics with people who could possibly know information about terrorist attacks, especially September 11th.  Some citizens believe there are other ways to get the information needed without harming people. Others argue the only way to receive valuable information about top secret topics is through torture (Scahill).

We as a nation can protect ourselves against further attacks without trampling on civil liberties that are guaranteed to our country’s citizens in the United States Constitution. No matter where you are or what you are doing, you can’t be one hundred percent protected from everything. We can do the best we can by using as much surveillance and security we can without breaking any laws. For example, increasing security around the borders and having a stricter background check system to use on those entering the United States. To protect ourselves, we need to make sure we continue to have a strong armed force. Benjamin Franklin once said “Those who would give up essential Liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” Hopefully in the future, Americans can have sufficient protection, without giving up civil liberties.


Works Cited
  • “9/11 Airport Security.” n.d. n. page. Print. <http://securitysolutions.com/news/security_airport_security_far/>.
  • Admin, . “Regular Americans Who Do Not Want Airport Security Using The New Full Body Scanners To Gawk At The Exposed Bodies Of The Wives And Children.” End of the World. January 22, 2010: n. page. Print. <http://thisistheendoftheworldasweknowit.com/archives/regular-americans-who-do-not-want-airport-security-using-the-new-full-body-scanners-to-gawk-at-the-exposed-bodies-of-the-wives-and-children>.
  • Ginkminos,. “All Terrorists are Muslim, therefore all Muslims are Terrorists.”Ballad in Plain D-monic Logic. August 31st, 2008: n. page. Print. <http://pakteahouse.net/2008/08/31/terrorists-r-us/>.
  • Huff, Ethan. “Ten Years After 9/11, two thirds of Americans still willing to give up more freedom to fight terrorism.” Natural News. September 8, 2011: n. page. Print. <http://www.prisonplanet.com/ten-years-after-911-two-thirds-of-americans-still-willing-to-give-up-more-freedom-to-fight-terrorism.html>.
  • Nijhawan, Avni. “Ten Years After 9/11:Civil Rights Still Under Attack.” Patch. August 28, 2011: n. page. Print. <- http://mountainview.patch.com/articles/10-years-after-911-civil-rights-still-under-attack>.
  • Scahill, Jeremy. “Jeremy Scahill: Bush administration authorized ‘sick torture tactics.” 8-4-2011. n. pag. Web. 15 Sep. 2011. <http://www.myantiwar.org/view/226957.html>.