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We chase terrorists in Afghanistan while predators stalk our children

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This nation and our society seem to have their priorities confused when it comes to keeping all Americans safe. America has become very paranoid about terrorists who might strike us, so we pour hundreds of billions of dollars into Iraq and Afghanistan. But why do we not address a major problem within our own borders; why is it that we do not have the same degree of fear of the predators within our own society who terrorize and murder our children?

Should not our highest priority be to assure that every American, and especially our children, are given the greatest protection possible? Of course, but the facts do not bear that out. We spend one trillion dollars annually for a massive military presence around the world, costly weapons systems, and civilian mercenaries. But we spend no more than a pittance to develop more effective programs of law enforcement and community actions designed to stop the senseless killing of our children. That is unconscionable.

We watch TV reports of horrific acts of violence against the children of America that are becoming much too frequent and common. So many of these victims of unspeakable violence are young girls who often are kidnapped and never again seen alive. This has happened across America with incidents from California to Florida. We have all heard the grotesque stories of young children being found dead in wooded areas and even in landfills.

I am concerned that Americans are being mentally conditioned as they witness this violence and, as a result of the 24/7 coverage by our national media, have become resigned to it. We react with horror and revulsion when some kidnapped child is found dead, the victim of a deadly predator; but after the accounts of the tragic event leave the news we just revert back to our normal daily routines. Where is the rage, where is the outrage demanding that these predators be stopped?

A variation of this terror looms over our colleges and our high schools. Here are a few of the incidences of killings in these institutions of learning, where our kids can hardly feel safe anymore:

The Virginia Tech massacre took place in April, 2007 when a fellow student killed 32 individuals and wounded many others before committing suicide. The massacre was the deadliest peacetime shooting incident by a single gunman in United States history, on or off a school campus.

In February, 2008 a former NIU (Northern Illinois University) Sociology graduate student shot six and wounded eighteen. In April, 1999 the Columbine High School massacre occurred when two students, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, killed 12 students and one teacher, and injured 24 others.

Heath High School in West Paducah, Kentucky was the scene of terror in December, 1997, when a fourteen-year old student opened fire on students at a prayer session, killing three young girls, and injuring five others.

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A deadly gang fight erupted near Fenger High School on the south side of Chicago in Sept. 2009 in which a student was beaten to death in plain sight of many other students. Students in the Chicago Public School System leave home and face the terror of being assaulted or killed every day. A total of 508 Chicago school kids were shot from September 2007 through December 2008, according to data compiled by the school system and released to the Chicago Sun-Times. While most survived too many died. This violence continues to go on unabated as the police apparently cannot bring it under control. This is home grown terror.

The daily threat of terror on the streets of America to which I refer is carried out by seemingly normal adults and kids who suddenly kill innocents around them. While there is no way that such killings could ever be totally eliminated, there is not even a question that we could bring far greater safety to our children if we made it a top national priority and provided the monetary resources needed.

Here's the point. We spend hundreds of billions in senseless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan chasing after terrorists who hide under cover and use road bombs to kill our troops. At the same time in America we have these tragic incidents in which predators come out of the shadows, kidnap innocent children and snuff out their lives. Let's take just a portion of those billions that we are spending in foreign countries to zero in on the predators that threaten our kids. Should that not be a top priority?

Just what is the difference between a terrorist and a predator? I say none; both commit murderous acts and both must be stopped. In the case of the terrorists we fear we take proactive action by going after them in their foreign sanctuaries. However, in the case of our domestic predators we are not being nearly as proactive as we should when, only after a heinous act is committed, do law enforcement officials act.

No one can tell me that this problem cannot be better dealt with if the proper effort and funds were committed to it. But no, America can't possible spare any more money for solving this festering problem because our Congress and leaders in Washington have already allocated all the money available to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. So, as bad as this situation may be, the kids under siege and their parents will have to find some way to cope with it on their own, as has been the case.

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We keep talking about winning and success in Afghanistan but here in America our children are the losers and we are completely failing them.

Something is terribly wrong with our priorities in America!


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Michael Payne is an independent, progressive activist. His writings deal with social, economic, political and foreign policy issues. He is a featured writer on Opednews and Nation of Change and his articles have appeared on many other websites (more...)

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