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What does security really mean?

Since 9-11, our government and society at large has created agencies in charge of our home security against the threat of terrorism. We spend billions of dollars protecting our borders on land, in the air and on water. Of course every country has the right and the duty to protect its citizens. Yet the biggest threats to our nation are from within.

There is an ever growing gap between the haves and have-nots, and the hopelessness of entire families, whose only resource of survival is the soup kitchen and the overcrowded shelters. There are thousands of runaways, fleeing from intolerable family dysfunctions, selling themselves on the streets for food and a place to sleep. The drugs and violence that accompany this kind of activity are reaching monumental proportions. There are many elderly who do not know how to fend for themselves and are victims of con artists. Terrorism is carried out by murderers, rapists and predators in the streets or on the cybernetic highways. We could go on and on.

Why are we so worried about outside forces, when right at home we are at risk everyday and are losing the security of our daily lives? You will argue that we are doing all we can regarding these problems, which is correct. Yet, we let our leaders convince us that our freedom as a Super Power is in jeopardy at all times, and we let them justify spending incredible amounts of money to cure this problem.

It is always wiser to take care of what is going on in our own backyard, before running all over the place telling the rest of the world what they should or should not do. Maybe I am an idealist and a bleeding heart liberal in the eyes of some, but a society is made of one individual at a time. It is the responsibility of each of us to make our environment -- at home, in our city and neighborhood -- a safe place to live, to stand up for the fair treatment of our fellow human beings, to teach our children the values of honesty, wisdom and cooperation, to share a little more with others and respect the dignity of those we encounter everyday.

Of course a lot of the issues of our country are a lot more complex. But maybe it is a lot simpler than we think. The betterment of the society I live in starts with me.