I’ve talked often here about the destruction caused by the conflation of the drug war and the war on terrorism post-9/11. Today, I thought I’d share with you a post I made elsewhere about this 10th anniversary commemoration. It’s not specifically drug-war-related, yet in a larger sense it certainly is relevant, since it has to do with the disfunction of our problem-solving abilities as a nation. Feel free to post your own 9/11 thoughts.
It is appropriate to mark the 10th anniversary of a major event with remembrances. And yet part of me feels like we’ve been so busy remembering 9/11 for the past decade that we’re in danger of forgetting 9/10.
9/11 is important. Close to 3,000 people died in that attack. That’s a powerful and tragic number. And yet, in the ten years since then, over 150,000 Americans have died violently who weren’t involved in wars or terrorist actions. We rarely hear about them. We don’t build monuments to them, and their deaths didn’t “change” us like 9/11.
Over 6,000 U.S. servicemen have died in the wars we fought to respond to the 9/11 attacks that killed 3,000 people. And roughly one million people total (by some accounts) have been killed in these wars for which we probably have spent $4.4 trillion to pursue. How many deaths and dollars should we spend per 9/11 death? Unlimited?
The firemen who were killed in the World Trade Center were true heroes and should be honored. And yet… What about Josh Burch and Brett Fulton, firefighters who died on the job fighting a Florida wildfire earlier this year? Or San Francisco firefighters Anthony Valerio and Vincent Perez, who died fighting a home fire in June? Will there be television features about them?
Why do we fixate so intensely on that one event?
Remembering is valuable. Learning is critical. Obsessing is unhealthy. Letting it cause you to be afraid is downright dangerous.
People who think nothing of getting in cars (which kill more people each day around the world than the 9/11 attacks) strangely get so afraid because of that one day in history that they’re willing to sacrifice their principles, their freedom, their honor, and their morality.
So I will not be taking part in any 9/11 observances today. I will not be calling upon God to Bless America’s efforts to drop bombs as a solution to the terrorist threat, for I understand that, like the Hatfields and McCoys, such action only serves to fuel a never-ending cycle of extremist violence.
I am asking people to remember 9/10. Remember who we were (much of the time) before 9/11. That America is still there, deep down, as long as we don’t abandon it. We’re people who believe in freedom and who won’t let any terrorist or politician take it away from us, let alone give it up willingly for the perception of safety. We’re the people who don’t torture. We’re the people who believe that the rule of law is important and that everyone deserves a fair trial. We’re the people who aren’t afraid to face up to thugs, who would rather take risks with our lives than cower in a corner. We’re the ones who believe in human rights and want the rest of the world to follow our lead.
We can be that America again. The America of 9/10. If we don’t believe that, then we’ve lost.