By Jonathan Kay
13/04/22
National Post

The Predator B unmanned surveillance aircraft

Last week’s terrorist attack in Boston was an emotional play in four acts. First came grief, then anger, then the morbid excitement of a manhunt. The last act was jubilation: When police officers zeroed in on Dzokhar Tsarnaev and took him into custody, they were applauded by a huge cheering Watertown crowd that had gathered to watch. It was essentially an anti-terrorism street party, with the police being celebrated as heroes.

Americans are famously skeptical of the police state: Many Second Amendment advocates even cite the possibility of righteous rebellion as an argument in support of maintaining private paramilitary weapon inventories. But it turns out that all it takes to make this libertarian spirit melt away is a pair of murderous idiots with some pressure cookers.

It seems a long time ago, but just last month, Republican Senator Rand Paul staged a 13-hour filibuster over the issue of U.S. government usage of weaponized drone aircraft over American soil. Even many lefitsts — who typically lampoon Paul as a libertarian extremist — admitted that he was taking a principled stand on an important issue. Yet on Monday afternoon, the U.S. military could have flown a fleet of drones over Boston, and the city’s fearful residents would have stood and saluted. Following Monday’s news of a major cross-border terrorist plot being broken up, I suspect that many Canadians feel the same way about their own communities.

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