The Evolving Culture of Security

Article excerpt

Point of View

I recall exercises in elementary school that taught us how to "Duck and Cover. " If you did not grow up during the Cold War (yes, that dates me) then you may not know that "Duck and Cover" was just as familiar as a school fire or tornado drill is today. We ducked under our desks and covered our heads to protect ourselves from the dangerous debris and radiation of a nuclear detonation. The federal government even sponsored a short film called "Duck and Cover" featuring Bert, an animated turtle with a civil defense helmet. It demonstrated the proper way to duck and cover in case of an atomic bomb. I'm not sure that I knew what a nuclear detonation was or how I was protected under my desk; however, it was part of our culture of security then, designed to make us feel safe. That culture embraced bomb shelters and a distrust or even intense dislike of the enemies of our nation.

What is a culture of security? What makes us feel safe? What do we mean by safe? What do we mean by "us"? Do we mean ourselves, our friends, our families, our neighbors, our country, our planet?

These questions begin to define the issues of security and risk. As a nation, we didn't feel safe following the 9/11 attacks. It was a 911 call for our country, and the creation of new security measures and a new government agency affected all of us as individuals.

How do we assess our safety from warfare, terrorism, and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction? Our attempt to protect ourselves from weapons of mass destruction drove us into a second war in Iraq and ultimately the assassination of Muammar Gaddafi. We sought a leader of terrorism for 10 years that ended with the assassination of Bin Laden. The development of nuclear weapons in Iran is now in the headlines as we assess our safety.

Our culture of economic security has shifted following the recent banking crises, housing crises, and unemployment rates among other shifts in the world market (s). How do we assess our safety from malfunctioning and uncooperative governments and economic insecurity? Families and individuals who face a mortgage crisis, lack of employment, or have inadequate health insurance are economically insecure. Bipartisanship - "of, relating to, or involving members of two parties, specifically marked by or involving cooperation, agreement, and compromise . …