Editor: You might say we lost our innocence on Sept. 11, 2001. We discovered belatedly that we were vulnerable to the attacks of people who saw our freedom and our culture as a threat to theirs. Those who despise or feel threatened by us, lacking armies, use surprise as their strategy and savagery as their modus operandi.

The recent attacks in Paris remind us that we are not alone — that we in the free world are in this struggle together. The solidarity displayed from moment one was inspired by our best instincts and comforting to those on the firing line and those of us who are in shock and at the same time seeking solutions.

We need to use our heads and hearts as we face new challenges. Intelligence is a key. We need to beef up our intelligence operation strategically — fight surprise with technological diligence and creativity. And we need to use the intelligence that we call common sense, attacking the Islamic State group while protecting the innocent. Take the example of Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, as he described an attack on a convoy of ISIS trucks. Knowing that the drivers were forced labor, the planes sent down pamphlets warning them to abandon the trucks as they were going to be blown up. Most of their lives were saved.

With regard to refugees, let’s not punish these victims of ISIS and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Let’s not lose our humanity and empathy. The knee-jerk decision of a majority of governors to oppose the relocation of refugees to their states is a disgraceful reaction to an act of brutality. It casts aside the values that we cherish and that make us a great nation while doing nothing to solve the problem of our own vulnerability.

Let’s find intelligent solutions by using our creativity to improve our intelligence system and using our heads and hearts to restore a knowing — and not naïve — normalcy.

Nov 22 Scranton Times Tribune Letters to the Editor

Preserving normalcy