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After Boston Marathon bombing, most Americans fear U.S. government than terrorists

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
April 29th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

While the Boston Marathon bombings have left the American public rattled, a recent poll suggests that U.S. citizens are hesitant to give up any further freedoms in exchange for increased "security." What makes this poll even more remarkable was that it was the first of its kind taking after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, suggesting that Americans love their country - but fear their government.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - It appear that the national mood is more fearful their government will abuse constitutional liberties than fail to keep its citizens safe.

Following the April 15 Boston Marathon bombing in which a pair of Islamic radicals are accused of planting explosives that took the lives of 3 and wounded over 280, polls suggest Americans are hesitant to give up any further freedoms in exchange for increased "security."

A random national sample of 619 registered voters the day after the bombing found that in spite of the tragedy, those interviewed responded very differently than following 9/11.

For the first time since a similar question was asked in May 2001, more Americans answered "no" to the question, "Would you be willing to give up some of your personal freedom in order to reduce the threat of terrorism?"

Of those surveyed earlier this month, 45 percent answered no to the question, compared to 43 percent answering yes.

In May 2001, before 9/11, the balance was similar, with 40 percent answering no to 33 percent answering yes. After the 9/11 attacks, however, the numbers flipped dramatically. Seventy-one percent at that time agreed to sacrifice personal freedom to reduce the threat of terrorism.

Subsequent polls asking the same question in 2002, 2005 and 2006 found Americans consistently willing to give up freedom in exchange for security. The numbers began to decline from 71 percent following 9/11 to only 54 percent by May 2006.

"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety" - as quoted by founding father Benjamin Franklin is holding more sway with Americans than it has in over a dozen years.

A similar poll sampling 588 adults, conducted on April 17 and 18 also discovered the change in attitude.

In another poll, the Washington Post asked 588 adults "Which worries you more . that the government will not go far enough to investigate terrorism because of concerns about constitutional rights, or that it will go too far in compromising constitutional rights in order to investigate terrorism?"

The poll found 48 percent of respondents worry the government will go too far, compared to 41 percent who worry it won't go far enough.

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