In the November 2007 issue of The Atlantic, which commemorated the magazine's 150th anniversary, an invited series of authors, artists, politicians and others were asked to prepare 300 words or so on "the future of the American idea". Wallace asked whether some things were still worth dying for, and presented a "thought experiment" in which "we decided that a certain baseline vulnerability to terrorism is part of the price of the American idea." He goes on to say that we might have to accept that every now and then "a democratic republic cannot 100% protect itself [from terrorism] without subverting the very principles that made it worth protecting." By comparison, he continues, we accept the 40,000 highway deaths each year as the price we pay for the convenience of the motor car. Finally, he asks, in the context of Guantanamo Bay, the Patriot Act, and warrantless wiretapping, "Have we become so selfish and scared that we don't even want to consider whether some things trump safety?"
(This is from Wikipedia files)
RIP. How very tragic, and my condolences to his wife, family, and all the students he taught.
And Brad, my heartfelt condolences to you as well.