In Steven Spielberg's Minority Report, set in the not-all-that-distant future, police in Washington, D.C., have hit upon a way -- through the enslavement of psychic visionaries -- to predict and prevent future crimes. Would-be criminals are apprehended before they actually break the law and are punished for their intent to do so. But as one might expect, things go awry when one officer learns that the psychics' visions can be manipulated, and an innocent man is implicated in a future murder he does not intend to commit.
The calamitous attacks of September 11 have imposed on Americans
a sense of vulnerability that we've been privileged to avoid for a long time. But
as we respond to the threat of terrorism in our midst, and as the nation takes up
what President Bush has called a fight for our freedoms, we must maintain our
commitments to those freedoms at home. We must be careful not to overreact and
should insist that any response be measured and effective.