September 12, 2007

Fear is in the Head of the Beholder

Six years ago, a few days after the 11th, many coworkers were discussing the fear. I said, “I am not any more fearful now than before.” One person got angry with me that I had not reacted the same as they did. I explained that I was always in a state of anxiety, when my son was out, because I never knew if he would be in a situation that could get him killed or injured. For the past few years this city has been one of the cities having a high murder rate. Much of it random, that is, without any premeditation; with many bystanders and too, too many children, being the victims. A post, 911 Six Years Later by Jonathan Adams at Racewire brought this to mind.

On that terrible day, I felt anger and like I was living in a surreal world. I felt grief as if I were part of all the families. I did not feel fear.

I don’t watch the reruns of the destruction or look at pictures. I don’t need to dwell on the images. I have in my life time seen other horrors, most not on the scale of 911. I had heard of and seen the images of the Holocaust. Others were not visually seen, but told of or read about, in the news. Learning one’s own history gives one a stoic response to violence.

The gangs that terrorize neighborhoods are not thought of when debating border security with Mexico. No thought in the national mind what these people go though day to day, just what if one Al Qaeda gets though? There are gang members that are recruited and brought in from Mexico. Their methods of enforcement of their activities in the neighborhoods are as violent as or worst than the Islamist.

Fear is now in all communities. Now their response is irrational. So new is the fear, that a war just anywhere, bringing freedom to anyone is sufficient, because “They hate our freedoms…” A slam dunk, that’ll ease the fear and as a side effect the US will have brought freedom and democracy to the Islamic world, stabilized the Middle East and enshrined the name of George W. Bush.

What I consider to be the first terrorist act in my memory was the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church. Actually, it was not the first, but one that stood out in national infamy. Terrorism is not new on this soil and for the slave, the native and then the free black; it has been a way of life. There was no justice then, and the 911 victims have not seen justice either. I have written of this before. The War in Iraq is not Justice.

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