I was in the back of the car, perched on a pile of bedding and blankets. My parents were sitting in front, glancing about anxiously. We were crossing the border.

We had left Poland a couple days before. Our visa to Holland was good for a vacation visit of a few weeks, but my parents–although I didn’t know it yet at the time–were planning to overstay it. They actively opposed the Communist government in Poland, and this was causing us more and more problems. So off we went, with a little bit of money in our pocket, our black cocker spaniel at my mother’s feet on the passenger side, and our green VW bug packed to the brim with our possessions. Funny thing is, at the time our Volkswagen seemed like a giant car compared to the little Fiats many Poles were driving.

And here we were, crossing from East Germany into the West, and it was scary. Our car was so overloaded that it crawled along, and we feared that it would overheat and die at the border crossing, which would have gotten us in serious trouble. It didn’t help that there were guard towers at the side of the road with armed soldiers inside of them. Our baggage was thoroughly searched, and then–with a huge sigh of relief–we were through.

Europe has come such a long way since then. I still remember how excited we were when Poland became a member nation of the European Union. Now it really felt like we would be a part of Europe, and hopefully wouldn’t go back to being one of Russia’s satellites. It was also a moment of pride for us when Donald Tusk, an ex-Prime Minister of Poland, was chosen to be President of the European Council.

The internal borders of Europe are now a different place. There is free movement between countries. The younger generation of Poland can live in Spain or Scotland if they so choose (and if they can find a job there). My uncle now lives and works in London. I would not want to go back to the severe restrictions of the past.

Yet the tragic events in Paris this week have sparked a conversation about precisely that. Some countries are discussing the possibility of changing the rules of the Schengen Treaty–which established freedom of movement in the European Union–and bringing back border checkpoints. I’ve also heard American journalists express surprise over the lack of border searches between, say, France and Belgium. I’m not sure those reporters understand how the concept of the EU is supposed to work. Europe is trying to be a united community–although this process has come with many problems–so what they are suggesting would be a bit like having checkpoints between American states. Sure, it might make things safer if we were searched when entering California from Oregon, but I suspect it would also change the way the people in different states view each other.

So will the terrorist attacks in France lead to a tightening of controls in Europe, much like the 9/11 attacks did in America? I would be sad to see this happen, especially if the European continent regressed to being a more divided place. Let’s hope we can find less drastic solutions to the terrorism question.

ISIS (or ISIL) is known for having a pretty sophisticated online presence for a terrorist organization. And now they have a dating website, too. Jihadi Matchmaker on Twitter is your premier place on the Internet to get matched up with an Islamic warrior. Jihadi Matchmaker does claim that it is not associated with ISIS or any other terrorist group, but they have posted things like “picture all the little mujahideen running around.” (Since nothing thrills me more than the thought of having kids just so they can grow up and martyr themselves.) It also uses other ISIS-affiliated imagery, so it is likely not as innocent as it pretends to be.

Jihadi Matchmaker is suspected of being one of the tools ISIS is using to lure girls from Europe and America into running away from home to join them as followers/wives (and then seriously regretting that decision).

I went to check out Jihadi Matchmaker for myself–hey, I’ve been single for a few months now. It was a disappointment, and not only because of its connection to a bunch of fundamentalist killers. Here are a few sample posts:

Life isn’t always roses, sometimes it comes with thorns, but even the thorns are from Allah so trust his plans.

All too often people concentrate on finding the right spouse, little realizing that half of any marriage is being the right spouse.

What the hell is this? I expected an ISIS website to be a little more edgy. This is the kind of bland inspirational crap people pass around on Facebook. The only thing missing was an exhortation to dance like the infidels aren’t watching.

Just goes to show that no matter where you go on the Web these days–even if you meander into the darkest corners of the Internet–you will not be able to get away from the same tired memes. Leaving me with one question to ponder–is a Jihadi kitten allowed to haz a cheezburger?

In case anyone out there thinks that I never disagree with the Obama administration, here is an administration policy I feel very uncomfortable with–and at the same time an opportunity to give kudos to one of my local Senators.  Sen. Ron Wyden is requesting that he be allowed to look at legal opinions justifying the killing of American citizens in drone strikes.  This makes sense, as he is a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and yet that committee is not being given the information that would enable them to oversee the legal basis for those targeted killings.

This at a time when the administration is at work on a counterterrorism manual which is essentially setting down the ground rules for continued drone attacks and assassinations.  Is it because Democrats have traditionally been accused of being soft on national security–is that why the President feels this need to act tougher than thou about these situations?  Because I hate to ruin a perfectly good stereotype, but if you are one of those hippies toting a peace sign around, this is not the President for you.  (If you’re a true blue Socialist, he’s really not the President for you either, but I digress.)  While he is in the process of ending a couple of wars, he is very much into the continuation of warlike activities.  Um, give peace a chance?