It happens at least a dozen times a day. I take something away from my kid; I tell her she can’t do something; I place limits on how far she can go.
Limits are hard precisely because they limit—and often my daughter lets me know that with a good crying fit.
Still, someday when she’s a little older, she’ll be able to understand why she can’t grab the kitchen knife off the counter, or walk out into the street by herself, or grab the dog by the ears. She’ll know that I placed limits on her to protect her; to keep her safe.
Limits are loving. Rules are loving. Even punishment when those rules are broken is loving.
Zoom out from my toddler’s world and look at the horrors we saw unfold in Manchester this week. A sorry excuse for a human being walked into a crowd of children at a concert and detonated a painstakingly cruel death device that took the lives of 22 people and injured dozens more.
I’ve seen myriad responses to the attack—from the funny-yet-absolutely true (they’re “evil losers”) to the knee-jerk “let’s not get caught up in Islamaphobia” response that seems to surface every time one of these terrorists reaffirms what we all already know deep down.
But one response really caught my ear.
On the morning following the attack, singer Katy Perry took to the air waves to say this (emphasis mine):
“Cuz I think like, there, like, as much you know, whatever we say behind people’s back, cuz the internet can be a little bit ruthless as far as fan bases go, but I think that the greatest thing we could do is just unite and love on each other, and like, no barriers, no borders, like, we all need to just co-exist.”
She’s right about needing to unite and love one another… but let me explain why she’s still wrong.
I realize that so many in my generation have been brought up to believe that “uniting” after an attack like this simply means holding hands of different colors, creeds, backgrounds, and so on. We’ve been brought up to believe that “loving” each other means refusing to call something by its name. We’ve been brought up to believe that borders are nothing more than cruel limitations placed by selfish jingoists afraid of anything that doesn’t look like them.
Yes, we need to unite. But here’s where we step away from the bumper stickers and get serious: we need to unite around defeating evil—wherever that battle takes us. And while the terrorists have proven this time and time again for us in bloody fashion, allow me to make this clear: like it or not, that evil today bases itself in the Islamic faith. To fight this does not require a binary choice—we can still fight radical Islamic terror by name while understanding that there are Muslims who abhor terror.
But here’s the part of Perry’s comment that I really want to get at: borders are the loving thing to do.
Remember when I said I place “borders” around my daughter’s life to keep her safe?
Borders exist (unless you’re unlucky enough to be in a place like North Korea) to keep undesirable things out. No—not “undesirable” races; undesirable ideas, beliefs, practices, and so on. You know, like the belief that shoving nails and screws in a bomb to blow the faces off children is a nice way to spend a Monday night.
Borders are loving because they help (when they’re enforced) to guarantee the safety of the people living within them. It’s no different than the lock on your car door or home. Would you leave your front door open and leave your children at the mercy of anyone who came through the unlocked threshold? No—and by maintaining and protecting our borders, we are lovingly protecting the men, women and children—the innocent human souls—who live within them.
Great Britain, along with so much of Europe, has long since lost sight of the concept. They, as we have now more routinely begun to do ourselves here in the U.S., have opened loopholes in their borders through vast refugee programs (with major vetting problems) and broken immigration systems. This is the product not just of the past few years’ conflict in the Middle East, but of decades of teaching the next generation that someone has a human right to cross a border regardless of the rules; regardless of whether or not their beliefs clash with the value system of the country they’re entering.
A borderless society does not change the mind of someone who calmly slices the head off my brother’s innocent friend. A borderless society does not change the heart of a person who crucifies children. A borderless society does not change the dark soul of a person who attacks a pregnant woman, tears out her baby girl, rapes the mother and the infant—and then walks away. A borderless society does not change the fact that there are millions of radical Islamic terrorists around the world willing to do precisely what this man did in Manchester.
Borders, my fellow millennial friends, guarded by governments who are serious about maintaining them, keep those atrocities out.
And it’s not just about people who want to come here to live permanently. Extreme travel vetting keeps out those who would travel here solely to carry out an attack; travel bans on countries whose citizens we cannot fully verify similarly keep atrocities out.
Remember earlier when I said that limits are hard? Having rules and enforcing them sometimes means that there are good people who don’t make it in. I’ve got a friend in that exact situation; you’ll see his story up here in a few days. And we can talk about the exactness of those rules and whether or not we should amend them to welcome in more of the good guys—but that aside, it doesn’t change the fact that borders (and the rules that surround them) are there to protect.
By the way, in case Ms. Perry is unaware, the Islamic State has its sights set on ruling the world with the ultimate border: its own cruel, repressive, awful, terror-enforced law. They’re thoroughly enjoying our society’s anti-border activists while working to establish their very own bloody border around our freedom … permanently. And that border won’t be one of protection.
If you’re really concerned about what you just saw in Manchester— one of yet another of an endless stream of heinous attacks—then fight for borders.
They are truly one of the most loving things you can do.
Mary Ramirez is a full-time writer, creator of www.afuturefree.com (a political commentary blog), and contributor to The Chris Salcedo Show (TheBlaze Radio Network, M-F, 3-5. ET). She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org; or on Twitter: @AFutureFree