In the years since the Sept. 11 attacks — a shock on an entirely different scale — the country has learned to cope, grudgingly but stoically, with the possibility of further terrorist attacks and the elaborate security arrangements that are designed to pre-empt them. Of course, one can argue about the cost and effectiveness of these defenses. But what critics deride as the security state is a reality that most Americans recognize: Terrorists of one sort or another are a threat we must live with, a danger we can diminish but not eradicate.
As President Barack Obama said, “If you want to know who we are, who America is, how we respond to evil — that’s it. Selflessly, compassionately, unafraid.”
Disgust, calm resolve and a steady sense of purpose are the psyche’s main defenses against evil. Innocents have been killed and grievously injured, but on the next day, those walls were standing.