Monday, September 11, 2006

9/11 - lessons learned

5 years ago this morning i stepped into my car and started off towards saratoga springs to paint a house. i rarely listen to the radio anymore, but as i started my car up i quickly realized that there was no cd in my stereo and thought i'd give x96 a start to my day. a few minutes after i had gotten into my car kerry, bill, and gina of radio from hell announced that a plane had hit one of the world trade center towers. at that time reports were that it had been a small personal jet. several minutes later they announced that another plane had hit the towers...

instead of prepping a newly constructing house before it was to be painting, my friend and i sat alongside the curb outside the house and listened to the developing story as it fed out of my car's radio. within a few hours two towers had collapsed, the pentagon was in flames, and a plane had collided into a pennsylvanian field. in this and later days, i learned about how evil we can be.

i already new about the evils of terrorism. nothing was new there. nothing learned. this was the same old story, just brought on our own land. while not always this extreme, terrorist attacks were a daily part of life for many across the globe. as sickening and disheartening as this was, i thrived off of it, and this was the first lesson of evil i learned from that day.

Cause I need to watch things die... from a distance. Vicariously I live while the whole world dies. You all need it too, don't lie. - tool

i have already written a little bit about this before. when the planes and towers began to fall from the sky, i wanted more. i was waiting for and wanting more destruction. i wanted more planes to crash into buildings. i wanted bombs to explode. i wanted people to die... just as long as it wasn't me or those i care for. when the official death tally was released, i was disappointed. two thousand something? they were telling me it was going to be in the tens of thousands! i wanted my money back. i paid for more with my expectations and deserved a refund.

this is what i had to say a year ago:

rewind four years to september 11th 2001. admit it. you know what i am talking about. the pentagon is still smoking. the two towers are a crumbled mess. you were waiting. not just waiting. deep down you were hoping for something else. another plane to crash. a building to blow up. another terrorist attack. you listened to the radio in search for more excitement. you turned to the news for info on the next hundred or so dead people. admit it, the higher number of deaths, the more exciting your life had become.
the very same story can be told with different instances of death and destruction. a year ago when katrina flooded the homes and streets of new orleans, the news was reporting possible deaths in the tens or even hundreds of thousands. it ended up being less than two thousand. again, we had been gypped. the asian tsunami promised exponentially more deaths by disease and famine. again, gypped.

i know i'm not the only one. i'm pretty sure you felt the same. the rising death counts, the possibility for imminent destruction gave us something exciting to talk about with friends and co-workers. it gave us life.

i don't know why we feel this way. perhaps it's a part of our inherent biological instincts for survival. perhaps it is a result of the media's portrayal and glorification of violence and destruction. whichever it is, there is a cruel sense of evil within each of us that thrives on the destruction of others.

Why can't we just admit it? Why can't we just admit it?...You all feel the same, so Why can't we just admit it?


another evil that quickly arose were those willing to use the atrocities of 9/11 to manipulate, con, and profit from others. within days, news reports discussed con artists who set up fake foundations to profit from those who had died. others attempted to directly profit from the dead through insurance scams and stolen identities. within those same days, another group of con artists utilized the fear and mourning of 9/11 to initiate an illegal attack on iraq.

over the months, the atrocities of 9/11 became ever profitable. capitalizing from the fear of terrorism (and the previously mentioned love of death), media reports repeatedly shown and advertized new video of the attacks. protection from terrorists became marketable in useless supplies of various safety devices. fear was manipulated by the government with a terror gauge that rose when presidential support was needed. fear was further manipulated to push governmental intrusions of privacy. movies, videos, books, and commercials all utilized the deaths of 9/11 victims to increase profits.

9/11 didn't just reveal the evils of terrorism. even more, it made public the evil inherent in all of us.

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