Since Sept. 11, there has been a lingering fear of additional attacks on America by radical Islamic terrorist groups.
Saturday, a man with al-Qaida terrorist connections boarded a Paris-Miami flight with explosives packed in his shoes. Fortunately, his attempt to ignite the smuggled bomb failed and the lives of 197 people on board the American Airlines flight were saved.
The would-be suicide bomber, identified as Richard Reid, attempted to board a flight Friday, but airline security personnel detained him because he showed up for check-in with only a single carry-on bag and a British passport issued in Belgium.
The clues to a possible terrorist bomber were there, but authorities cleared the Islamic terrorist to board a flight the next day.
Americans are concerned about the balance between protecting personal rights and maintaining national security. We don't want to admit it, but clearly we've grown more suspicious of some people because of their nationality or religious backgrounds.
But perhaps that suspicion is justified if acted upon at appropriate times. Especially if we see someone acting suspicious at an airport, bus station, the mall, or a large sporting event such as the Olympics. Suspicions may be the key to saving lives and stopping a wave of terror. It could even be considered our duty to be suspicious.
Our military troops may be in Afghanistan, but the battlefield extends to every town in America. This new war calls for citizen soldiers, not armed with guns, but armed with alert eyes and common sense.
Personally, I am one American with a Middle Eastern name that will not cry foul if I am searched at a public event or asked to take my shoes off by airport security. It's a small price to pay if just one bomb is discovered. I'm sure the children, husbands, wives and friends of the passengers on Saturday's Paris-Miami flight would agree.