Illusion of security

Posted: Friday, October 05, 2001

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin

Tough words from one of our founding fathers back during our Revolutionary War period. Those words, however, still ring strong and true post the Sept. 11, 2001, atrocities. Locally, the meaning of these words was brought home to me when I read there was consideration of closing the much-used dike trail for "security" reasons.

Would closing the trail make us safer in any meaningful way? Almost assuredly not but it would definitely reduce the quality of life for a great many of our fellow Juneauites. Many have pointed out that the dike trail is the most heavily used trail in the area. That's true but doesn't tell the whole story. I've been using the dike trail for nearly 20 years during which time I've developed a rather large circle of "trail friends." Many of these folks are older. They use the dike trail because it's flat, easily accessible, and clear of ice and snow far more than alternative trails. Loss of this community resource would be a tragedy and it wouldn't make us one wit safer.

We live in a dangerous world and it behooves us to take reasonable precautions. However, we can't guard against all potential threats as to do so would negate the very values we are striving to protect. Henry Miller, the author, may have said it best when he wrote in 1949, "The man who looks for security, even in the mind, is like a man who would chop off his limbs in order to have artificial ones which will give him no pain or trouble."

Let's not chop off our limbs for the illusion of added security. Keep the trail open.

Walt Sheridan


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