On this day, I am supposed to wax patriotic, philosophical, grimly determined--
Because a lousy bunch of religious whackos decided to turn Western technology on the West.
Well, I'm not going to give you the standard Ritual Grimaces. There are always barbarians at the gates; sometimes we have been lucky enough to live in times when the gates are good long slog from where we are, is all. Those days are gone; they've been gone since the jetliner displaced the steamship.
Barbarians of one stripe or another had been after blowing up highly-visible stuff in the States for a good long while -- a Federal building in Oklahoma City, a van-bomb at the World Trade center, and so on back to the 1886 Haymarket bombing in Chicago. There's no shortage of fools who think blowing up innocent people is a suitable method to effect change.
It's not. It's been shown to produce nothing but death, injury and anger. And we've now got the TSA bringing miniature, audience-participation versions of the Stanford Prison Experiment to every passenger airport in the country.
Here's what I can tell you: when violent people initiate force against the innocent, more people step up to stop them (Flight 93), to help the victims (police and firefighters at the World Trade Center and Pentagon), and they do not count the personal cost; they step up. Civilization is stronger than barbarism. It is not destroyed from the outside.
So remember the heroes, probably none of whom felt especially heroic in the moment. Remember the people who do what needs doing. And don't kid yourself that it won't happen again.
The television pundits will cry Real Tears today and so will the usual job lot of politicians. It won't mean anything. They weren't there. Some of them think they were -- after all, they saw the smoke from their office window -- but they weren't, and they won't be the next time, either. It's up to you.
T. R. MCELROY'S STREAMLINED TELEGRAPH KEYS
9 months ago