Speaker Tells How Citizens Should Act During Crisis

The safety and security of the United States depends on individual actions, said Pat Shea, an attorney who spoke Thursday at the Hinckley Institute of Politics.

Shea discussed what citizens can and should do during a crisis, and the power of the executive branch of government during a national emergency.

He compared the events of Sept. 11 to the time of the French Revolution.

“We are not unique,” said Shea, who was deputy assistant secretary of Interior for Land Minerals Management between 1998 and 2000.

Shea continued that many times in history the principles under which society has operated have changed rapidly. History views the French Revolution as an extension of the American Revolution, but at the time, the French were shocked at what happened.

“Hopefully, we will view this as a shift toward a better world,” Shea said. He said the events can lead to a common defense.

Shea told his listeners they should make an effort to understand security measures. He said many people become too busy to make an effort to understand those measures and then allow others to make important decisions.

“It is that very moment you need to step in as a citizen to see if that makes sense to you,” Shea said. “Go out to an airport board meeting and listen.”

Shea said citizens should also take small steps such as talking to people on planes to get to know them.

“I would urge you to think of where your voice could be heard,” he said.

Shea also talked about what the world would be like if it had only 100 people in it. Only one person would have a university education. Six people, all from the United States, would control 99 percent of the worlds’ wealth.

“Is there any question as to why some parts of the world do not see America as the great beacon of hope?” Shea asked.

Shea continued that all of the hijackers involved in the Sept. 11 attacks were from wealthy backgrounds and were not radicalized until they came to study in the West. Shea suggested the United States needed to be more involved in integrating foreign students into the academic and social life of the campuses.

Shea asked his audience how often they speak with someone from a different culture.

“The U is a productive place,” he said. “It is the very place to let down biases. We need to be pro-active at the institutions we are affiliated with.”

Shea said every student who graduates should be able to converse in a foreign language. He said students should be encouraged and given financial incentives to study in other countries as well. Those experiences, according to Shea, allow students to “come away a much richer and more understanding human being.”

Shea ended saying society needs to recognize the commonality of the human experience.

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