Surveillance helping to prevent terrorism

The answer is not simply to bring in more and more laws. Restricting citizens’ rights actually lets the terrorists win

The Boston Marathon bombing garnered a tremendous amount of public and media attention last week, largely because of where the attack occurred and the subsequent intense hunt for the two suspects.

The hunt became even more intense last Friday, when virtually the entire city of Boston was shut down as police narrowed the search for the one remaining suspect. Police soon located the suspect and he was arrested and taken to hospital, where he remains in serious condition.

The activities in Boston have again focused attention on acts of terrorism, and it appears this was such an act. The older suspect, who was killed during a shootout with police, was an ethnic Chechnyan who had recently spent six months there. According to a number of reports, he had become more of a fundamentalist Muslim in recent years. His younger brother is the wounded suspect.

This week, we learned that two suspects were plotting to blow up a Via Rail train in Eastern Canada. The plan was linked to al-Qaeda.

The two separate events show that there are people in both Canada and the U.S. prepared to commit terrorist attacks. The question is, how best do we as a society respond to this?

The answer is not simply to bring in more and more laws. Restricting citizens’ rights actually lets the terrorists win. There are significant anti-terrorism laws in place, and they help police uncover many of these incidents before they take place. There is no question that they are necessary.

In Boston, one of the most important tools allowing police to narrow the field of suspects was surveillance video from a nearby department store. Such surveillance cameras should not be a problem for people going about their business in a law-abiding way. More such video cameras in public places may be necessary.

As citizens, we should be able to move about freely and not be subject to arrest for no reason. More surveillance videos will help keep that a reality, while inhibiting terrorists.

— Black Press