Monday, September 12, 2011

Freedoms

by Kristin Baker Przybyla

On September 14, 2001, we got a knock on the door at about 8:30 or 9:00 in the evening. My husband answered it, and I was walking down the hall to see who it was when three SWAT team guys in dark uniforms, carrying automatic rifles, rushed past me into my house. Just three days after the tragic events of 9/11, when we were still reeling and wondering what was going to happen to our country, you can imagine the thoughts that went through my mind: We've given up our freedoms to have our homes searched, we were saying goodbye to our privacy and to everything Americans hold sacred.

It was just bad timing, actually. The people in the house behind our backyard were apparently involved in some kind of illegal activity, and they were staking out not only our yard, but our next-door neighbors'. I had to grab the kids from the back bedrooms in case guns were fired, but luckily, after a three-hour standoff, it ended peacefully. We never knew exactly what had happened--but they broke our backyard furniture when they used it to climb over the fence!

This event reassured as well as terrified me. I was so relieved when I found out it wasn't the end of the world after all; things were still going on as they normally would (although this kind of thing isn't normal in our neighborhood!), even if things would never be exactly the same.

And they aren't, not really. Americans are freedom-loving people, and we've had to give up a few freedoms and privacies in the ten years since 9/11.

I just finished reading The Hunger Games. There's an appalling lack of freedom and basic human rights that the future citizens of North America have to endure in these novels. The life of an individual means nothing to those in power, and you soon find out that even the privileged ones born in the supposedly safe Capitol hardly have any more rights than those who live in hunger and poverty in the districts that serve the Capitol. In these books, you get a horrifying sense of what life would be like if everyone from the president to the local police had the right to kidnap children and exploit them for entertainment, or publicly torture or execute a citizen just for speaking out or trying to feed their families.

There are countries where atrocities like this do go on. I'm so grateful to have been born in a nation whose citizens value their freedoms enough to fight for them. I'm thankful that we continue to stand strong and resist those trying to take our freedoms away from us. I pray that the oppressed people in other countries will someday gain the liberties that so many of us are able to take for granted.

6 comments:

  1. Balancing safety vs. freedom is a tough act. Heavenly Father is the only one that does it right. I'd like to think we are reclaiming our freedom while keeping our eyes open for trouble.

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  2. I agree we lost our innocence as a nation. We lost some freedoms for the sake of safety. I am glad we live in a nation that will fight and keep as much freedom as we can. I pray for the families of the people that died on 9/11 and in the armed services.

    Yes weren't the Hunger games series books that are hard to put down?

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  3. By the way the SWAT team thing is the kind of excitement I only enjoy reading about.

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  4. I, too, am grateful to have been born in this nation. We take so many of our freedoms for granted. thanks for the great post, Kristin.

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  5. Thanks, all! Susan - it was surreal, you never expect anything like that to happen and it's just weird and confusing when it does. At least for a few seconds until you know there's actually a reason behind it!

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  6. Amen to your last paragraph especially.

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