Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Six years. It's hard to believe--or imagine--that it's been six years since our lives were irrevocably changed. I remember that morning. It was a Tuesday, just like today. Sunny and warm here in California...I woke up and was headed to the gym. Listening to my walkman--fiddling with the stations because instead of music all I could get was news. On Star 98.7, even Jamie and Danny seemed to be preoccupied with something other than their usual schtick. At first I thought they were replaying broadcasts of the 1993 World Trade Center bombings. Why would they do that? It seemed so odd..

And then it finally dawned on me the horrific story that was unfolding as I listened. It was overwhelming and incomprehensible. I walked through the rest of the morning--the rest of the day--in a daze. As the reported events were confirmed by television news footage, I felt as if I had been sucker-punched. Knowing that this was just the beginning of the nightmare, I avoided the news for the rest of the day. I escaped to the movies, seeing a showing of Funny Girl at the Royal in West Los Angeles.

Later on, I got a hold of friends on the East Coast--they were OK although as shaken as I was. They have two kids and, along with the direct victims of the attack, I mourned the loss of innocence of American children everywhere. From this day forward, they would live under a shadow of fear. Of course, they never had the carefree childhood of their parents--what with child abductions and molestations, etc. But now their safety and way of life was always in question.

Two days later, I was able to sit down and watch the unceasing reports in the aftermath. I watched for hours, tears streaming down my face. Unable to imagine the horror of those caught in the line of fire. The news was a source of solace then--bringing information and trying to make sense of the truly senseless. But in weeks to come, the media went from reporting the events to capitalizing on them for market share and advertising revenue. Not a day would pass without a "special" 9/11 report on the victims, the attackers, the rescuers, the heroes. It became less about information and more about exploitation.

Within moments of the first reports, news outlets began hypothesizing that biological attacks might be next. And within days of those reports, envelopes containing anthrax showed up at the networks. Somewhere in the darkness, some sicko sat watching the incessant yapping of the anchorbots and thought, "Biological warfare...cool!" I have no doubt some Unabomber type got the bright idea from watching the evening news. I will never forgive Tom Brokaw for holding up a bottle of Cipro on national television, thus causing many to stock up on meds from Mexico in hopes they could prevent this "new threat." Antibiotic abuse is already a widespread yet underreported problem in this country. We don't need threats of biological warfare--a staph infection may kill us all one day thanks to the irresponsible and unnecessary use of antibiotics. But that's another post...Kudos to Dan Rather for being the only network anchor not to participate in the anthrax hysteria.

The surreal days that followed the attacks with the blue and noiseless skies devoid of planes, the surge of patriotism, shoe bombs and beheadings. A call from our president to keep the economy strong by continuing to spend money, while CEOs laid off employees by the thousands. Where was their patriotism? The invasion of Afghanistan, the invasion of Iraq. Weapons of mass destruction--which we never found, and Saddam Hussein--who we did find. But Osama bin Laden is still at large...

Today, 9/11 is just a blip on the news radar screen. The Washington Post has a couple of articles dedicated to the occasion, there seems to be more media attention on Britney's disastrous VMA performance. One about paying tribute to lives lost during the attack. Another about how we are more prepared but still face ongoing threats. Ah yes, the "ongoing threats." The whole reason for the existence of the Bush administration, the Iraqi war and the loss of our personal freedoms. If you ask me, I tend to agree with the Black Eyed Peas who sang:

"But we still got terrorists
here livin
In the USA
the big CIA
the Bloodz and the Crips
and the KKK..."
It seems to me that the government has created a climate of fear to keep us feeling terrorized--to thus justify the "war on terror." The country quite clearly told Bush and company how they felt about his handling of policies and the Iraq war--but he has so far ignored us. The Bush Administration, however, continues to subjugate and eliminate American rights--all the while insisting that the executive branch of government is above the law.

Aided and abetted by our Texan President are the gas companies who terrorize us with unreasonable price hikes. Used to be that gas prices would fluctuate by one, two, maybe three cents. Now you see adjustments of six, even ten cents from one day to the next. Gas prices start rising and the rest of us get a sinking feeling in the pits of our stomachs. Gas companies claim scarcity, but meanwhile rake in record revenues. Profiting off our misery...

And how about the airlines? Oh sure, it's Homeland Security that's to blame for us having to get to the airport five hours before a flight and having to put our shampoo in tiny little bottles in ziplock bags, but what about the canceled flights? Passengers held hostage on tarmacs for eternity? That rubberized chicken they microwave and serve to us lukewarm as "lunch"?

We hear news reports "alleged" plots foiled by the CIA and others--but you wonder if that info is leaked to keep us from feeling safe. So add to the list of terrorists the media who, in addition to coverage on "alleged" terrorist plots and their "lock-step with the Administration" news reports, keep us terrorized with cancer fears, violent crime, identity theft, predators, etc. It's a wonder that we're not all cowering inside our homes--too afraid to step outside for fear of what might befalls us thanks to CNN, etc.

But whatever comes our way to try and knock us down, Americans have proven that we won't be cowed. We won't be beaten. We may be a little older, a lot wiser and bit worse for wear. But the terrorists have not succeeded in breaking us or taking away our way of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

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