From Jan. 28 to Feb. 4, a Chinese surveillance balloon had been flying over the United States before being shot down off of the coast of South Carolina. 

Government surveillance is terrifying and espionage by the Chinese government should not be tolerated by American citizens. People should not accept spying from any government, whether it is foreign or domestic.

Although the balloon did not come near New Hampshire, there is a possibility that spying from a government could happen in Keene. It is important for us to hold governments accountable so that our civil liberties may stay strong.

According to CBS writer Caitlin Yilek, on Feb. 9, Melissa Dalton, the Assistant Secretary of Defense, told senators during a hearing that the balloon was “200 feet tall with a jetliner size payload.” 

Yilek wrote, “It had collection pod equipment, including high-tech equipment that could collect communications signals and other sensitive information, and solar panels located on the metal truss suspended below the balloon.”

It is a good thing that the American government decided to shoot down the balloon when there was no way of civilians being harmed by debris. We should not allow the Chinese government to spy on us and potentially steal information.

Some people think that the American government should have taken action immediately instead of waiting to shoot the balloon down.

Aaron Blake from The Washington Post wrote, “When President Biden declined to immediately shoot it down, citing safety issues on the ground, Republicans almost instantly pitched it as yet another example of his allegedly weak and feckless foreign policy in the face of an adversity.”

It is understandable why someone would not think highly of taking immediate action, but it definitely does not show cowardice. It is noble to take the safety of American citizens into accountability when making decisions to stop a threat. 

The balloon was shot down over water, keeping it out of the way of endangering civilians. That is the whole point of shooting down the balloon, to keep people safe from espionage. The plan should also be to keep people safe from falling debris as well.

While the balloon itself is not a huge threat to the security of American civilians, shooting it down sends a message that we will not let our civil liberties be trampled on. It might not be the biggest threat, but it is still terrible that the Chinese government would spy on citizens of another country.

It is a good thing to hold governments accountable for inexcusable actions. No matter how insignificant it might seem, it is always important to keep the safety of the common person as a top priority. 

Tom Rogan from the Washington Examiner wrote, “As far back as 2019, Navy officials briefed certain members of the Congressional Armed Services and Intelligence committees that some strange UFOs had strong potential to be conventional counterintelligence-related security threats.” 

The fact that the American government knew that this was a potential threat and it still happened is telling in itself. The rights of the people should never be trampled and always be protected at all costs.

Nico Brazill can be contacted at

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