Twelve Years Later

World Trade Center

Source: Wiki Commons. Used under GNU license

I probably said what needed to be said best a couple of years ago, but you can’t blog as long as I have and not let this day pass without comment. I’ve opted to a couple of times in the past, thinking that talking about it would give the perpetrators undeserved publicity. Most of the time, though, I didn’t think of some coward sitting in a cave in Afghanistan or Pakistan. I thought about 3000 people who were murdered for the crime of showing up for work, something I’ve done most weekday mornings for the bulk of my adult life.

Since the towers fell, people have wanted to point fingers. Bin Laden wasn’t enough, since he was basically a shadowy figure hiding in a cave. All manner of conspiracy theory emerged, from the government faking it to the Bush Administration ignoring warnings so they could justify a war in Iraq. The ones alleging that the towers were detonated I find not only unbelievable in the extreme, but a massive slap in the face to anyone who died in those attacks. Still, it’s only natural that, when something catastrophic happens, fear sells. While the official version of events is obviously sanitized for various reasons, both legitimate and, to be frank, stupid, conspiracy theories only serve the purposes of those who destroyed the towers, damaged the Pentagon, and met a premature end in Pennsylvania. The reason the towers were attacked was to incite terror. It’s the first six letters in “terrorism.”

Freedom_Tower_World_Trade_Center_NYCThe new World Trade Center is almost finished. And about time, too. That gaping wound in lower Manhattan has been there for too long. It’s time we got on with life. We will forever argue over the best way to defend ourselves. But I’m going to reiterate something I said years ago after the Twin Towers first fell. The world did not really change. It’s always been a dark, scary place where people do horrible things to each other. We just had a brutal reminder of that. That said, I still prefer today over years past, when the world really was darker, even if we were a bit oblivious to it.

Decades ago, some of us had to use separate water fountains and couldn’t sit at the lunch counter. Over a century ago, owning a human being for personal use was considered the norm, not the crime it is these days even where it’s tolerated. Things we used to accept would kill us before old age are now rare. Polio is almost unknown. Small pox is, except for lab samples, extinct, and the plague, which once killed a third of a continent, doesn’t even rate a headline on a slow news day. That last usually involves a Z Pack and bed rest.

Sure, there are problems. The wealthy refuse to practice capitalism, preferring feudalism instead. (I’m looking at you, JP Morgan-Chase.) The government is watching our every move, only to discover we’ve been flipping them the bird with no plans to stop. Arab Spring is a bloody mess. More often than not, many of us are afraid of what some burned-out ex-DJ or sportscaster tells us is the boogey man. 95% of the time, they’re making it up to sell gold or foot powder. Mercifully, one of the left’s more annoying practitioners had to crawl back to ESPN for a job when he realized liberals don’t really want their own Rush Limbaugh (and a growing number of conservatives kinda want theirs to go away, too.)

Don’t let the fear mongers tell you what you’re afraid of. If you do, then the terrorists really have won.