The price of liberty ... 

January 15, 2021

In the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001, the Cape Gazette began publishing time-tested wisdom beneath its flag: “The price of liberty is eternal vigilance.” 

As our nation readies to transition from the Trump administration to the Biden administration, the importance of that sentiment is fresher than ever.

Destruction, looting, injuries and lawlessness visited Delaware and areas across the country last summer when peaceful protests in the wake of the death of George Floyd turned violent. Sporadic lawlessness continued nationwide over the next months in the midst of rancorous election campaigning and post-election anger. It boiled over last week barely 100 miles from our communities.

Protesters, unwilling to accept election results certified by every state in the nation including Delaware, and upheld by courts at all levels including the Supreme Court, opted for violent criminal mode. Fueled by a president likewise unwilling to accept the results of an election held and upheld in accordance with law-and-order guidelines, those protesters stormed the Capitol, resulting in death and destruction.

When people turn to violence as the foundation of their idea of governance, instead of a system of democratically agreed-upon laws, nothing less than our liberty is at stake.

Vigilance involves not only awareness – keeping our ears to the ground – but also preparation to confront and eliminate danger that can rob us of our freedom. Last summer, following violence in Wilmington and Dover, police intelligence shared with the local community indicated violence was headed next for Rehoboth Beach. Organizers canceled one protest, but many people planned to show up anyway. Police established a powerful presence in the area, and individuals took measures to protect themselves and their property. The anticipated problems never materialized. Protests remained peaceful. Vigilance and preparation prevailed.

The opposite happened last week in Washington, D.C., albeit on a much larger scale.

While we work toward unity, listening carefully to one another and seeking constructive change through lawful action, we must nonetheless be ever vigilant and prepared – at all levels – to disable those who want to take our freedom, property and lives through unlawful force and violence.

  • Editorials are considered and written by Cape Gazette Editorial Board members, including Publisher Chris Rausch, Editor Jen Ellingsworth, News Editor Nick Roth and reporters Ron MacArthur and Chris Flood. 

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