Since 1996

September 14, 2001

It’s just after midnight, and there’s a rumbling in the sky. Could be thunder, I suppose, or maybe even a big truck, but to me it sounds like a plane. Lots of planes.

I know they’re not terrorists: anyone flying above the US without permission right now isn’t long for this world. They’re either military, or else I didn’t notice the reopening of American airspace.

Or it’s thunder. It’s not raining here, but it might be raining nearby.

I used my entries for Wednesday and Thursday mostly to call for sanity, to try and keep these events in perspective and not start thinking about the disaster in a way that will lead to more bloodshed. I’ve read people who have seriously—at least as far as I can tell—argued that bombing innocents in Asia is all right because God will know who was innocent.

To them, we must create a sense of fear in anyone who might consider attacking us again. We must convince those potential terrorists that the consequences will be so horrible, that it’s simply not worth it. If innocents suffer and die, it will be worth it to prevent destruction to ourselves.

To me, the flaw in this plan is self-evident. A people who live in fear grow to hate those they fear. Ask yourself this, would you rather cower beneath those more powerful, but live relatively unmolested by them, or would you rather make a possibly-futile gesture of defiance? I don’t see any evidence that this would stop terrorism; it would merely send it further underground. The attacks would continue—possibly increase. It would be worse for everyone.

Or maybe I’m seeing it wrong. It’ll concede that it’s possible.

For a more eloquent argument, see Doc Searls’s stuff for Thursday. In particular,I recommend the Agence France-Presse photo essay, and the articles “Terror and the Sense of Justice” and “Metaphor and War” (which I linked to before).

Yeah, it’s definately thunder. Really loud thunder, and the rain’s just started, which I imagine will make the situation in Manhattan even more miserable.

All this space, and I haven’t gotten to my point yet. If I let myself, I’ll still go around the Net soaking up news and commentary. In fact, here’s three more that caught my eye. The last ones, I promise. From the Guardian:

Make no mistake: If we find those responsible for them, we must do something. There is no question about that. But let’s be careful. Let’s not make things too much worse.

My point is… I’m not sure what my point is. I think today has been declared a day of mourning; I don’t remember the exact phrasing. For all those who have been affected by this tragedy, you have my deepest sympathies. This is an awful situation all around.

I don’t think I have anything more coherent to say—if, indeed, any of my comments have been coherent. The attack itself is too big and horrible to contemplate directly, so I talk about the need for understanding and threats to liberty. I’m really not trying to be disrespectful; I just feel the need to say something, and there’s nothing I can say about the tragedy itself. It’s too awful.

I’m babbling, and I have work tomorrow. It’ll be the third or fourth day since the disaster (depending on when you start counting), but it feels like this week has lasted for months. Was it only four days ago that things were normal and I was writing comedy and complaining about copyright extensions?

Be safe. Comfort those who have lost.