Waiting until Sunday night to file a Monday column puts stress on editors, and I try not to do it. But I waited this week until shortly before 5 P.M. Pacific time, as I was genuinely concerned that the jihadists had in fact organized something to wreak havoc on our national celebration.

My friends inside the intelligence community and within the Congress and with access to most of the highly classified material on the "threat stream" were deeply concerned, and in a way they had not been before, not since the days after 9/11.

So I waited, and late Sunday afternoon began to breathe easier, and to turn again to the World Cup, the Cavs' free agent signings, the aftermath of the Greek bailout vote. I had not changed a thing about my routine for the Fourth, but I suspect many did, and with good reason. Courage is not a reckless absence of fear, but rather the ability to act in the face of it. Americans have much to fear.

Mostly they need not fear the Islamic State, or even the prospect of a nuclear Iran so much as they do our own fundamental lack of seriousness. In just the week past I watched (1) another intramural blood-letting among GOP operatives and conservative commentators, (2) a compliant press roped off by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's minions, and (3) an online assault on Jake Tapper for a lack of diversity on his month-old Sunday show — even after Tapper had just interviewed Bernie Sanders.

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