Well, it’s official, as reported on Minnesota Public Radio—MAPE’s executive board voted unanimously to strike. I fear this won’t be easily resolved.
Month: September 2001 Page 1 of 2
Thought I’d check in.
Took my first yoga class yesterday. Nick accused me of being a yuppie because of that. I said I was doing it for my health, and he replied, “Yeah, so are all the yuppies.”
The shock is gradually wearing off, I think, as routines return. I actually think the government’s response so far to the terrorist attacks has been pretty appropriate. My worries—which actually are many—include my fear that the U.S. might get mired in some kind of endless struggle, or one that has the potential to escalate into, oh, I don’t know, “mutual assured destruction.” Not to mention my worry that they might take away too many of our individual rights—our freedoms—along the way. I mean, “our freedoms” were cited by Bush as one of the reasons the terrorists hate us; so why should we be giving (for example) law enforcement expanded rights to wiretap us? It’s a slippery slope.
35,000 people got together at the Minnesota state capitol in St. Paul yesterday to remember the people who lost their lives last Tuesday. From the article:
Rabbi Morris Allen of Beth Jacob Synagogue in Mendota Heights told the crowd that the terrorists cannot hide behind a veil of religion.
He also said that America must be sure of its target when it responds, stressing that it must make sure it doesn’t unjustly target the wrong people. It was a theme throughout the ceremony and one that drew consistent applause.
‘We must be clear not to let outrage devolve into mere rage and victimize Americans of any religion or ethnicity or from a different country of origin,’ he said.
These days are so difficult.
It was obvious after Tuesday—after terrorists declared war on America—that it was going to be much harder to go on. But it’s one thing to realize that the world is about to change, and another to actually live in it—minute by minute, conversation by strained conversation. I am aware that I have anger and frustration and deep sorrow lying just underneath a numb, shocked exterior. And I know I’m not thinking as clearly as I would otherwise be.
It’s just so hard to concentrate on almost anything. Even in the best of circumstances I’m an easily distracted person. The news of further developments and leads and clues and accusations and promises of justice and rescues and the disheartening news of not enough rescues are both compelling and wearying. I have the strong desire to stay informed and to find out news as soon as I can… but it’s so hard to continuously hear it. Being reminded of the horrors of September 11th amplifies the pain.
And it’s horrible to think that there were more attackers. It chills me to know that still more inhuman monsters exist that would literally do anything fueled by hatred. At least all other planes were grounded on Tuesday in time to stop the other terrorists in New York from doing the same thing. The frightening thing is that something like this—or, God forbid, worse—really could happen anywhere, at any time, and the people that planned these attacks still live.
I believe that no one has the right to take other people’s lives. No person, no group of people, no institution, no government, no corporation. That’s why it hurts so much to know how many thousands have been snuffed out so callously. I don’t believe in the death penalty. I find that belief tested knowing how terrorists take advantage of it.
The effects of the attacks are so far-reaching and profound. So many people who yet live have been hurt: physically, mentally, emotionally. We, as a country, as a people, as a culture, and as a world, have lost so much. We have lost friends and family. We have lost our sense of security, which may have been false to begin with.
Does this mean we should lash out at who we believe did this? Maybe. Is this the time for prudence? Maybe. I don’t know. I don’t have the answers.
I called the blood center around 4:30 pm today, and they said it’d be better to come in tomorrow morning since they still had a lot of people waiting to give blood tonight (they just closed, at 7). So I’ll probably go first thing in the morning (and I’ll make sure to eat a good breakfast). I realized the last time (i.e., the first time) I gave blood, I had basically failed to eat dinner the night before (a rare occurrence in itself). I won’t be making that mistake again.
* * *
A couple of articles stood out a bit to me from the rest of the massive coverage today: one from Salon.com warning against a backlash, and John Nichols’ “Online Beat” on thenation.com (text of two articles in new window; source URL, which doesn’t stay permanent).
The shocks are still coming. The investigation continues. Life goes on.
* * *
What a horrible, inconceivable thing. This morning, at about 8:46 am EDT and 9:04 EDT, two planes crashed into the World Trade Center in New York. It’s almost entirely certain that both crashes were intentional and undoubtedly coordinated. The buildings—both towers—now have gaping holes in them and are billowing smoke.
It really fills me with deep dread and sorrow that something like this can happen in our world.
I just happened to turn on the television before getting ready for work, and saw this. President Bush just made a brief statement, in part: “Terrorism against our nation will not stand.”
* * *
9:44-10:04 am EDT: Reports are pouring in, via CBS News on television: There was an explosion at the Pentagon in Washington, DC—either a bomb or a helicopter exploded in a heliport, or a plane crashed there as well. No confirmation. The White House, Pentagon, Treasury, and Capitol, in DC, have been evacuated. A Palestinian group has reportedly claimed responsibility for the plane crash, met with some doubt when reported. All airports, tunnels and bridges in the New York City area have been closed. Two planes were hijacked—one out of Boston—one was American Airlines, one was United. No word on which one (if either) crashed into the World Trade Center. The FAA has grounded all aircraft nationwide.
These incidents look like war.
* * *
5:51-6:04 pm CDT, my time: The immediate terror is over, but the aftermath has just begun. Most of the early reports were pretty accurate.
Of course, since I last posted: Both towers of the World Trade Center have collapsed, as has another part of the building. It’s gone. Destroyed forever. There were four commercial jets successfully hijacked, two of which plowed into the World Trade Center, one of which indeed hit the Pentagon, and one which crashed in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, not far from Pittsburgh. Explosions in Kabul, Afghanistan are not linked to the attacks, as might be suspected. There are still people trapped, and clouds of smoke, in New York City.
Who knows when we’ll know just how many people were killed, how many people were injured, how much damage was done. The trickle of names of people killed has just started: Barbara Olson, wife of Solicitor General Ted Olson, was on a plane that was hijacked, and reported to her husband via cell phone (before presumably dying in the crash) that it was hijacked by men with “box-cutters” and circled before hitting its target (via ABC News, on television). What could be more tragic?
Jason Kottke and Camworld have lists of weblogs based in New York City that are covering the horror. I haven’t bothered with links to news stories because, well, it’s pretty much everywhere on the web.
I pray for everyone involved. I am so saddened. These attacks make everything else seem incredibly insignificant. The course of human life on this planet has changed because of the machinations of the worst of us—the execution of their evil plans, and the manifestation of our worst fears.
* * *
Personally, I don’t know anyone who lives in Manhattan. My mom and step-dad, however, are in Brazil at the moment, having flown there Sunday 9/9/01 and arrived there Monday morning 9/10/01. (It’s my mom’s first time out of the country.) Thank God they didn’t leave two days later. I haven’t talked to them yet, but it seems they are checked into their hotel (since the front desk there, when I called, knew who they were, but said they were out). I’m sure they’ll be fine. The only worries I have for them are that they won’t enjoy their visit as much as they would have under better circumstances and the off-chance that, for some reason, they won’t be able to fly back… but I assume they will.
I’ll be giving blood tomorrow.
6:20 pm CDT: Just announced on ABC News: Anyone with information on these crimes should visit www.ifccfbi.gov. Family or friends of victims should call 1-800-331-0075.
WordSpy—a site devoted to neologisms, one of my obscure interests—is also an amusing site I visit from time to time. The person who runs the site (Paul McFedries) also has one of them there new-fangled anagram makers: family fun for everyone. Some of the better rearrangements of the letters in my full name (Jason Lee Gohlke) are:
- Shaken ego Jell-O
- Leno’s Helga joke
- Jangle eel hooks
- Joe’s elk halogen
- “Galleon,” he jokes.
Me, on May 2nd, 2001, to myself: “Those who can, do. Those who can’t, weblog.” While it may not be true, it is worth considering.