Trade freedom for security? In times of tragedy and confusion, yes.

    As images on CNN transitioned from a yellowish haze with billowing smoke to soot-covered people being wheeled away — with bones sticking out where their legs should be — I furiously began texting everybody I knew in Boston.

    The following is a work of opinion submitted by the author.

    As images on CNN transitioned from a yellowish haze with billowing smoke to soot-covered people being wheeled away — with bones sticking out where their legs should be — I furiously began texting everybody I knew in Boston.

    Most students and working adults had the day off, so there was no telling who of my acquaintances and friends was a spectator at the Boston Marathon. I got word that everyone was OK, except for one person — a family friend, Ellen.

    I texted her brother and my dad, who would likely be in touch with her dad. Nobody could get a hold of her. That made sense. By then the news was reporting that many people in Boston couldn’t use their cell phones because of the abundance of calls being made from the area. But it still worried me.

    My mind flashed to an argument I had with my mother once. She wanted me to use an iPhone application called Find My Friends. It uses GPS to track where your cell phone is so you can allow people to find where you are.

    I refused to join the application.

    It’s not like I worried about being somewhere I’m ashamed of, but it made me feel eerily under surveillance. My suburban Michigander parents already constantly tell me I shouldn’t walk the Philadelphia streets by myself at night — which I find understandable yet sexist. I did as I pleased — while remaining vigilant — because I don’t like anybody telling a woman that it isn’t safe for her at night and she may as well stay home or pay an overpriced cab fare.

    Safety measures like these often make me feel stripped of my liberties, independence and self-sufficiency.

    Whether being tracked by an iPhone app or my parents, I realize how we’re constantly under surveillance as a society. You can watch street cams at local news websites. Any camera can be registered on the Philadelphia Police Department’s SafeCam program — to gather evidence and arguably help deter crime.

    Big Brother is also watching at the airport, and you may be subject to body searches in order to keep other passengers safe. You can object, but it won’t stop airport security from doing it.

    Our founding fathers maintained that Americans shall be free to do as they please so long as it doesn’t violate any of our laws.

    As a famous Bostonian turned Philadelphian once said, “Those who desire to give up freedom in order to gain security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.”

    While I greatly admire Benjamin Franklin and quote him all the time, I’m almost certain he was addressing British imperialists who agreed the protection of the most powerful nation at the time was worth high taxes and occasional invasions.

    The night that followed the Boston Marathon bombing, I downloaded Find My Friends and invited my mother as a follower. She will be the sole person I’m in contact with through the app.

    Later that night, my mom sent me a text message reporting that Ellen was OK. She had left the race 10 minutes before the explosions and was at that moment in a cab going home.

    Having the application would not have changed anything about Ellen’s situation during the marathon, but it would have allowed for her family to know how to react — should they be rushing to find her in a hospital bed, or should they simply text her any useful news they were getting from CNN?

    The situation taught me that sometimes giving up some personal liberties isn’t about just me — it’s for the benefit of my family and the rest of the people around me.

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