As a (nearly) 41 year old I'm prone to "back in the good old days" wonderings of the brain if I'm not careful. However, the more I live & experience, to more I feel inclined to simply state this--I do not subscribe to the whole "it's a different world since 9-11" paranoia that seems to be sweeping the nation.
As one example, one recent story1 commented on how big-city random police street-searchings have doubled in the past 2 years or so, and people applaud this--after all, crime has dropped. Others do not, they consider it a violation of privacy and demeaning--even going so far as to change their route to-from home/work to avoid them. I subscribe to that mentality myself. Believe me, I am thankful for attempts to reduce crime, but at some point it begins to make me uncomfortable, as if we are pushing our society towards a police-state of sorts. I want no part of it.
Like the person highlighted in the story who started taking a different route between home & work because he found the constant searchings demeaning and a nuisance, I myself just want to live and be left alone. There is a reason we moved from the big city (Tucson AZ) to the "boonies"--to live without being bothered and hassled by, among other people, the police.
By the same token, I don't agree with warrantless wiretapping of phones, photo-finishers phoning police over every bathtub photo taken by parents of their children (in fact I applaud the parents who sued WalMart2 for doing this), I think it's totally ridiculous for someone like me to encounter "don't take photos of my kids, you pervert!" when I'm at the lake snapping photos of the ducks as part of my legitimate (and legal!) photography hobby (I don't snap photos of their kids, but in fact, it's legal to do, it's called Freedom of the Press).
Likewise I do not act all nutty and crazy if my daughter Helen (2½ years of age) is friendly with people she doesn't know. I don't want her running off with a stranger obviously, but I don't want her being all scared of everybody either. I much prefer a friendly, trust-presuming type of society myself. I watch old DVDs of "Highway to Heaven" and love it when the Michael Landon character, in response to someone saying to him "but why would you help me, we're strangers" and he responds "because people CHOOSE to be, I would rather choose to be a friend." I love it, too, when he asks someone he barely knows if they'd like to go with him to do whatever--young females, even, and they trust him. Right on. That is my kind of society.
That society is dead, you say? As he would say--only because we choose to do so. Just because 9-11 happened is no reason for us to lose our heads and assume a "trust no one" stance. I want no part of a world like that.
We need more of that "Highway to Heaven" type of thinking, and less of this crazy paranoia that I'm seeing in the 2000's & beyond. At the same time, those of us like me who value our privacy and being left alone by the police when we've done nothing wrong are not nut-cases with something to hide, we just don't like being hassled--and freedom from a police-state type of society is something that should ever go out-of-style, 9-11 or not.
1 Police Stop more than 1 Million People, source: Yahoo.Com
2Parents Sue WalMart For Bathtime Photos, Text-Based Article
3Parents Sue Walmart, Video Clip