Many of us walk around campus unaware of our surroundings.
Instead, we focus on our cell phones, our next class, or our plans for tonight.
This is a stark contrast to the high level of alertness we exhibited following the tragic events of Sept. 11.
Why have we suddenly returned to our daily lives and assumed a comfortable level of security?
Temple security guards check IDs whenever they please, SEPTA trains and subways are unprotected from biochemical threats, and our president is committed to starting a war with Iraq.
Does it still seem like we should be so comfortable?
For some people, it surely does. Many of us are apathetic, or simply determined not to let terrorism alter our daily lives.
Unfortunately, a war with Iraq will force us to maintain that high level of awareness to protect our country and ultimately ourselves.
For one thing, a war with Iraq will further increase anti-American sentiments in the Middle East.
The leaders of Jordan, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have repeatedly denounced the Bush administration’s intentions of attacking Iraq for fear of riots, revolts and instability within their own countries.
Anti-Americanism usually results in terrorist acts, so it can be assumed that a war with Iraq will greatly increase the risks of terrorism against American citizens.
Even worse, our government will be focused on its military efforts abroad, thus moving homeland security from the center stage, and regrettably leaving us more susceptible to terror.
As students in a major city, who use mass transit to travel to school and often interact with strangers, we must realize that a war with Iraq doesn’t put us in the safest of positions.
We cannot rely on our law enforcement, our educators, or even our parents to protect us from the threat of terrorism.
We each must be on a high alert and constantly aware of our surroundings to help curb the possibilities of harmful acts.
If this requires that we demand that Temple security guards check IDs, or that we write our elected officials to stop a war with Iraq, or that we pause to check something suspicious on campus, then so be it.
Being apathetic and unaware will unquestionably make us more unsafe than we already are.
Asher Ailey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org