When They Died

Five years ago I was driving my car from my apartment to my university when I heard on the radio that a plane had struck the World Trade Center. I assumed it was an accident and didn’t think much of it until I walked by a room on my way to class or work (I don’t remember which) and saw a group of people watching the news. I watched throughout the morning until it became clear to me what was happening.

I had a few friends in New York, but I didn’t think first of them. My first thought was that this was Pearl Harbor and it was now the time to start preventing Hiroshima. I spent much of the next four years working to that end. I walked around campus in September 12 with the words "the other cheek" written on my face, in an effort to bring out the good in people and not the bad I feared was coming. I encouraged reconciliation and discouraged revenge. I helped organize multiple organizations focused on these goals.

I drew attention to the innocent civilians dying as we bombed Afghanistan. I loudly opposed our invasion of Iraq. I made the front page of newspapers. I made the TV news. I spoke on panels. I campaigned for politicians calling for peace. I campaigned against politicians calling for war. I compromised and voted for Kerry. I registered voters and served as an election judge to help others do the same.

None of this worked. I hope I made some small impact, but many more innocent people have died in the pursuit of vengence for the events of five years ago than died on that day. I didn’t hear they died on the radio. I didn’t see it on the TV. There is no moment of silence for these people. I don’t remember what I was doing when they died.

 
 
 
I have been reading your blog for a while, and i find it entertaining... but his disturbs me. I have been trying to figure out the best way to respond to this, but I find it difficult to believe that a US citizen's first reaction to an attack on US soil is to try to prevent retaliation against those responsible.

From your comment, it seems as though you care more about the people that would kill us, than your fellow US citizens. Let the firefighters and civil servants deal with the aftermath, but you have to protect the people that planned and carried out this attack? I don't necessarily believe that we should nuke the middle east, but i don't believe that we should sit back and do nothing either.

If you aren't prepared to defend what is yours, then why have it at all? I assume you lock your door at night. What if someone broke into your house? Would you want them punished?. Would you feel the same way as you do (did) about the world trade centers falling, if someone on your campus blew up a car with one of your fellow students in it? Would you be actively defending this person and telling everyone that they should just turn the other cheek?

How is it that you can justify doing nothing? Did we provoke the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor? Did we provoke the attack on the World Trade Center? What did we do that justifies their attacks, that you have to defend them instead of your Country? I do not want war, but i don't believe that it is never necessary either.

I truly believe you have the right to say and think what you want, i just do not understand your reaction in the slightest. If you want to debate this further... i'm game.
 
 
 
 
Eric, I think you've made some broad and false assumptions about me, which I'll try to address one by one.

From your comment, it seems as though you care more about the people that would kill us, than your fellow US citizens.

Not at all. My fellow US citizens are more likely to die in car crashes than from terrorist attacks. Those that made up the unfortunate exception to this truth are dead. Nothing I can do will change that. But for the living, I try to drive safely.

but you have to protect the people that planned and carried out this attack?

No. Those I would defend, innocent civilians, did not carry out this attack. All Afghanis are not the same. All Iraqis are not the same. And most of the attackers were from Saudi Arabia anyway. Your punishment lacks both precision and accuracy.

If you aren't prepared to defend what is yours, then why have it at all?

The World Trade Center was not mine. I'm not sure what you're talking about here.

I assume you lock your door at night.

Yes, I do.

What if someone broke into your house? Would you want them punished?

No, I would want them provided the help and rehabilitation they need to not repeat their crimes. The past can not be changed. Only the future can be improved.

Would you feel the same way as you do (did) about the world trade centers falling, if someone on your campus blew up a car with one of your fellow students in it?

I wouldn't want that person's neighbors killed, if that's what you mean. But I wouldn't have the same worry of that happening, because we don't tend to assign blame to large groups of innocent people when we can actually see the people we're blaming.

Would you be actively defending this person and telling everyone that they should just turn the other cheek?

If this is supposed to be an analogy to five years ago, the person would be dead. If you want to put the dead hijackers on trial, I'm all for it. I don't see how that helps anything, but I don't imagine it could hurt either.

How is it that you can justify doing nothing?

I can't and I don't.

Did we provoke the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor? Did we provoke the attack on the World Trade Center?

I don't think so, but I don't really care. Provocation does not excuse violence against innocent people, as far as I'm concerned.

What did we do that justifies their attacks, that you have to defend them instead of your Country?

My country is not so weak that it needs my defense. Who is this "them" you think I'm defending. If it's not the innocent civilians I stated I was defending, you're generalizing, which is dangerous. A few dozen men blamed all of America for their problems. That was wrong.

If you want to debate this further... i'm game.

A debate assumes we're on different sides. I think this is another mistake you've made about me. When they come for you, I'll defend you. When they come for the innocent Iraqis, I'll defend them. No one is coming for you right now, though I understand that's still hard to see, even after five years. But please, let me know when they are and I'll do what I can.
 

Be number 3:

 
 
 
knows half of 8 is