Absolutely worth a read, from Shoshana Hebshi at Stories from the Heartland blog. I also had to repost what commenter Ian said, because I couldn't agree more.
See, the purpose of terrorism is to cause exactly this. “Terrorism” isn’t about killing people — it’s about terrorizing. That’s why it’s called “terrorism” and not “killing-people-ism.”
Killing people is a means to an end. The end is to destroy a society, by breaking down the rule of law and social contract. And we do this better than any other nation on Earth. We’ve gone from a light unto the nations, a place which may not have always done the right thing, but was always on the right path, to a place that is an example of a police state, a cautionary tale to other nations. And why? Because we have reacted in exactly the way that al Qaeda was hoping.
In doing so, we’ve proven that we are a PERFECT target for terrorism. A terrorist who attacks the United States gets EXACTLY the goal they want: a repressive, over-zealous, fascist security force which destroys the freedom and liberty that this country once had.
Once upon a time, people thought that “freedom” was a thing that you were willing to risk your life to fight for. This country was founded on the notion that you had to risk your security to guarantee your freedom — and that that is a bargain well worth making.
Now? We trade in all our freedom for a tiny bit of security, the act of a craven coward. And we harm other people in the process.
I am ashamed to be a citizen of a country where three people could be detained like that, because someone was afraid. Terrorism requires people to be terrified.
And the people who are terrified are craven. And willing to harm their fellow citizens because of their own terror.
It was never more visceral for me than a train ride to DC shortly after the attacks. An Arab-looking gentleman was clutching a paper bag tightly in the row across from me. He went to the bathroom once, then again. The second time, he brought his carry-on bag, and was gone for far too long. I sat paralyzed - utterly terrified - because I was sure that he was going to emerge with a bomb strapped to his chest. I was sure it was the end.
I did nothing. I just waited there: unmoving, heart pounding.
He came out wearing more casual clothes. Then he pulled a slice of pizza from the brown paper bag.
So yes, indeed, Ian. In that respect, the terrorists have won.