Sunday, September 16, 2001

Commenting at Long Last

I've been trying to decide what to post here for several days.

On the one hand, I have little that I perhaps should say, for the simple reason that I'm angry and saddened to a point that I'm likely to say things I'll wish I hadn't later.

On the other hand, not saying anything is worse; I can feel the built-up pressure of rage and sorrow, and I know that even if no one reads this I must for my own sanity begin to express this backlog, lest I succumb to it and either despair or explode.

We, as Americans, have been violated. Faceless destruction and cowardly evil have seen fit to grace us with their presence here, and to strike at all that we have taken for granted for so long that it has come to define us. Our airlines were some of the freest because they could be. Our immigration controls were lax because they could be. We are a people so accustomed to living free that it has became an indelible part of us. Now, those easy extravagances of freedom will change forever; not because they necessarily should, but because those who cannot abide such freedom and seethe at such prosperity decided to strike at us through them.

Ours is a society that was founded on the struggle for freedom from tyranny - another indelible trait we bear as a nation. The indolence that we sometimes show as a result of having won that struggle so completely is apparently easily mistaken for weakness. It's nigh impossible to buy an American flag in the city of Richmond and across the country tonight. The people of New York have been galvanized, and kindness and heroism flow there like water amid the pulverized concrete. Congress has given President Bush carte blanche to make war on those responsible for the carnage, and I sleep better at night knowing that we are preparing both to combat the threat, preventing recurrence of this evil, and to visit justice on the perpetrator.

I hold no illusions that I am immune to the desire for revenge: my country has been struck by an enemy that chooses to hide in shadows rather than declare itself; that must move in utmost secrecy and suspicion to survive; that thinks nothing of snuffing thousands of innocents to make a political point. I have a sister and a cousin that live in New York City; for their both surviving unscathed, I am abjectly thankful to the Almighty. For their having been endangered, and for the myriad lives that have been lost, I would attend with satisfaction the perpetrators' public execution.

I am not advocating unfocused rage against Arabs. I am not advocating atrocities to "balance the scales" or any such nonsense. I am advocating identifying and hunting down the human detritus responsible for plotting and ordering these attacks like the animals they have shown themselves to be, and bringing them to the harshest justice allowed by the rules we follow as a nation.

For the first time in over a year I'm moved to quote Senator John McCain as so many have:
God may show you mercy. We will not.

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