Saturday, September 11, 2004

Three years..

Three years ago, I was living in a really small town in northern Arizona called Paulden, had five acres to myself with only 4 pigmy goats, 4 ducks and 4 chickens as company. Work was a 30-mile drive into Prescott. I was still at the early stages of the mechanic trade; it was nice having patients that if they died you just took them to the junkyard.

That morning in particular, I had gotten up at 5:30, eaten eggs and toast for breakfast (from my chickens), fed the animals and hopped into my truck. I turned on my radio and knew immediately that something was very wrong. My radio was tuned to NPR, my primary source of news since I didn't have a TV at the time. The normally calm anchor's voices were shaking and were saying that a plane had crashed into one of the world trade centers. They kept saying the same things over and over so I surfed around the dial, the AM stations were even worse, the news people crying on the air, pretty chaotic. Went through the rest of the FM dial too and the rock stations didn't say anything, which still bothers me. The DJ was a cheery girl that sounded like she didn't have a clue what had happened, just a regular morning broadcast for them. I went back to NPR because they seemed to have the best coverage, if I remember their news anchor was rollerblading towards the Towers. I called the important people in my life and told them to turn on the news, my mom just said, "why are you worried, planes crash all the time". Then she turned on the news and felt silly and called me back.

As with the rest of the United States, I was shocked to my core. I finally got to work and no one was working, everybody was standing around and watching video of the planes crashing into towers. I tried working but life had suddenly turned surreal, nothing I was doing was making any difference. My enchantment with mechanics had faded, the radio was blaring overhead, most of the time repetitive, we would listen to a new morsel of news that would come out every hour or so.

Somehow I did some work that day and got off and went to my best friend Larry's house, he had gotten off work and we just sat and watched the news. People were going to New York from all over and Larry being a reserve firefighter wanted to join them, he was so close to just running out and driving east and I talked him down.

Told him he had 2 kids and a life to take care of, let people that can afford to do it, rush off.
A couple of days later I was back at the same recruiting station that I had joined in 10 prior once more signing my name.

How long will it be before the bruise that was placed on the consciousness fades? Do you remember what it was like to walk up to the first skyscraper after 9/11? Your first flight? Everything changed after that date, the world wasn't as safe as it was and a new sense of paranoia had settled in over everybody.

Since then the paranoia has faded a bit and a sense of complacency has settled in. But we're still a different nation that what we were. There are now new fetters on some of our freedoms, most we don't notice till we run into them. Talk about making bombs too much and chances are the FBI will be knocking on your door. The airport security has been replace by flinty eyed people MIB that pull people off to the side for mysterious reasons and feel them up and traumatizing them to airports for the rest of their lives. And for the last 3 years we have been at war someplace or other.

I don't think that this war on terrorism is something we can win by ourselves, there needs to be a worldwide effort to squish it out and change the way people think. Every time an innocent person dies in this fight there is a chance that you're making another enemy that is willing to sacrifice his or her life for a cause against us.

Look at the Chechnya, the Russians are some pretty hardheaded customers and don't deal with terrorists but their situation is turning into a downward spiral. They're getting closer to the point when it's going to be easier to sterilize the area instead of fighting, once you get to that point, all sides have lost. Violence spreads like a plague. Terrorists aren't playing the same game that they were in the past, there aren't any real demands anymore. These wack jobs just want to put on a show for the media and they don't care if they live or die. They just want to make whoever it is they're dealing with look bad, every body gets hurt but they don't care. How do you fight people like that?

There are many things worth fighting, the problem is that we sometimes forget the real reason we started fighting. Once we become the fight, the fighting becomes more important then the objective and the original objective is lost. At that point it's probably a good idea to take a breather, step back and reassess. Let the emotion of the moment fade before you alienate the people that your good intentions are trying to save.

Sometimes you can't defuse the fanatics and they need to be stomped down, the trick is not to make any more while you're doing it. I just hope someone up there has a plan and knows what they're doing and not deceiving the rest of us. Nothing I hate more then throwing money away by betting on the wrong horse.

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