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Floored by the cruel wind of terrorism

Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
Coast News
September 19, 2001 (penned 9/12/2001)


Those who make justice impossible, make violence inevitable. — Martin Luther King

Like roman candles ignited by hatred and amoral righteousness, the video of Manhattan's twin towers has been burnt into my consciousness. Sitting in front of Good Morning America with a bowl on Cornflakes, I was not prepared for Charles Gibson and Diane Sawyer announcing breaking news revolving around the image of the smoke and fire immolating, and emanating from, the north tower of the World Trade Center. Nor was I prepared to watch United Airlines Flight 175 crash into the south tower. Ours is now a different world.

Glued to the television in horrific fascination, the only emotion I could identify within was shocked disbelief. Unsure what to feel, my mind was trying to make sense of the chaos unfolding. Unable to do anything other than watch as America came to terms with an act of terrorism so barbaric, words seemed empty, and no explanation possible.

Over and over the news channels showed the footage of the Flight 175 strike the second tower; little did we know the worst was yet to come.

As if the images of victims plummeting to their deaths weren't enough to scar the psyche of every American, the eventual collapse of both skyscrapers was. Before George W. Bush uttered the words, the result of this intricately orchestrated attack on American civilians was clear, war had been declared against America, and the world as we knew it would never be the same.

Comparisons to Pearl Harbor and the Oklahoma City bombing rang hollow as information was gathered. This crime against common human decency was of epic proportions, and one that will send shock waves of retribution around the globe. The complete lack of regard for human life is mind numbing. To think that there are people willing to hijack commercial airliners and use them as weapons of terror was unfathomable before September 11, 2001. Sadly, we will now use this day of infamy as milestone in history.

From here on in we will measure things in relation to before and after the hijacking of America's sense of safety. Thousands dead, thousands wounded, and millions reeling from the impact, America will no longer be the place of open arms. With our security shaken to its very foundation, our trust will be hard to acquire, and our patience limited. The perpetrators of this criminal act have set in motion a series of events that we can only imagine. Retaliation is inevitable in our eye for an eye world, what this means will become clear soon enough.

As America looks to place blame, all eyes turn towards the Middle East and the Islamic fundamentalists determined to throw the world into chaos. Unmistakably, the name on the lips of most people is that of Osama Bin Laden, the son of a Saudi family made rich by our appetite for fossil fuels. Also considered to be possible co conspirators are the governments of Afghanistan, Sudan, and Iraq. To think an escalation of violence could be possible seems unreal, but that is exactly where we find ourselves.

Violence only begets more violence, as we will soon see. I can't help but think this is the intended outcome of these suicide bombings, how could it not be. Some believe America will soon be involved in the Middle East, as if we weren't already. I for one see this attack on innocent civilians as a result of our history of involvement in that region's politics. Again I ask how could it not be? In no way should my questions be seen as anything except an attempt to come to terms with a now uncertain future.

As a an American patriot, one should be willing to question our government's foreign policy when it is perceived to be short sighted, heavy handed, or unjust. And even as we question our leaders, Americans can be counted on to come together and support them when our nation is attacked. As a member of the Green Party I could probably come up with a number of reasons of how those guilty of this indiscriminate carnage could perceive their actions to be justifiable, But there is no need, as it is also clear to me that there is absolutely no valid reason for mass murder.

Although not one for prayer, my concern is just as real. Many lives have been forever altered as friends and family members have been brutally ripped from the American community. As heavy hearted as I am now, I know that where there may be a gaping hole in lower Manhattan, I also know the spirit and resolve of America is intact and we will come together in this time of national tragedy.

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