The arrest of three friends of the surviving suspect in the
In some circles, the term "snitch" is used to intimidate good, law-abiding citizens from assisting law enforcement with information during investigations. Unfortunately, this has long been the case in Baltimore. But the arrest of the three University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth students underscores the importance of reporting suspicious activity to law enforcement authorities. More important, the investigation of the Boston Marathon bombings demonstrates that our struggle to combat terrorism greatly depends on public engagement.
The government's "If you see something, say something" campaign should remind those who remain apathetic about their important role in the "war on terror." My future, your future and our children's future depend on public involvement in this struggle. We were reminded of this integral partnership in the moments right after the Boston bombings, when the FBI sought the public's involvement by establishing an 800 number and asked for tips, videos and pictures.
In the coming weeks, investigators will learn more about the role of
Too many of us have a false sense of security and are uninterested in the difficult efforts needed to maintain the safety and protection of the nation. I have seen this apathy first-hand for the past eight years as a homeland security professor. Every semester, I come across a few students in my class who are unashamedly taking the class only because they need an elective to graduate or due to the strong urgings of an academic advisor. But I always remind students that no matter your vocation, religion or race, homeland security should be of interest because it affects all us. Our futures are inextricably linked in this struggle to combat extremism.
There are several lessons to be learned from the Boston bombings. But if we learn nothing else as citizens, it should be that the key to winning this "war on terror" will be our deliberate, persistent and unconditional public engagement.
Herma Percy, PhD, a member of the Anti-Terrorism Advisory Council of Maryland, is homeland security program director at Washington Adventist University in Takoma Park. Her email is email@example.com.