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Big Damn Heroes

Thoughts on 9/11

Posted on 2008.09.11 at 08:31
I was talking to a co-worker a couple of weeks back about the upcoming elections. She was terrified of Obama winning because, "What if there's another terrorist attack?"

And I suddenly thought... "What if there is? So what?" Through most of my life, the English were frequently victims of terrorist bombings by the IRA, and they managed to keep their civilisation going. Europe didn't collapse in ruins because of the Red Brigades, and Israel is managing to keep a pretty good country going in spite of being at the very center of the rage of the very folks who attacked us.

Do you remember a movie from the 1990s called "The Siege," starring Denzel Washington, Annette Benning, and Bruce Willis? NYC being the target for a terrorist cell in a series of suicide bombings and the sorts of attacks that are day-to-day life in Israel? Denzel Washington's character -- the FBI agent heading up the case -- has a line, at one point, that I think should be more remembered, and more out policy. "We're New York, we're tough. We can take it."

If you've received an e-mail from me since 9/11, you've seen that my signature is:

"What'dya expect? I'm a New Yorker!"
-Anonymous New York Firefighter, 9/12/01

This was a story then-NY-Governor George Pataki (whose name I may have misspelled) told of visiting injured First Responders the day after the attacks. He had thanked one firefighter, so coverred with bandages that le looked almost like a mummy, for his courage, and the firefighter responded, in this wonderful, rough, Brooklyn accent, "What'd'ya expect? I'm a New Yorker!" We should be more like him.

America got sucker-punched, and our head swam, and we saw spots before our eyes. Okay. Well, we're on our feet still, and it's wrong, wrong, wrong for us to be terrified that we're going to be punched again. We're no weaker than the British, the Germans, the Italians and Spanish and French. We're not weaker than the Israelis. These people lived with terrorism without placing that fear in the center of their lives.

So should we.


realtsunamigirl at 2008-09-11 13:40 (UTC) (Link)
After the bombings in London in July of '05 there was a bundle of flowers along with this meassage left on the steps of a church:

Yesterday we fled this great ciry, but today we are walking back into an even stronger, greater city.

The prople who did this should know that they have failed. They have picked the wrong city to pick on.

London will go on.

A lesson to be learned there I think.
Jonathan Andrew Sheen
leviathan0999 at 2008-09-11 14:59 (UTC) (Link)
I'll never forget a news report I heard on 7/7: An old Londoner who'd lived through World War Two shouting, "I've been blown up by better than you lot!"

New Yorkers would do and say much the same.

The Republican party cowards in Washington will not.
realtsunamigirl at 2008-09-11 16:48 (UTC) (Link)
There's a giant hole in her logic anyway. You guys would be far *less* likely to get bombed again under Obama, because you would be far less likely to be pissing off the world to such an extreme extent.

Seriously, I'm Canadian. When *we* get pissy, it has taken some big time effort.

On the main highway in to my city, there is a billboard for Obama. In Canada. Where we don't even get to vote in this election. *That* is how pissed off we are.
carose59 at 2008-09-11 15:15 (UTC) (Link)
I keep saying that the whole deal with trying to make the airlines 1000% safe is insane and unnecessary (and as a number of investigative news programs have shown, inefficient). For at least forty years we all knew that in the case of a hijacking you do what you're told, you go to wherever the hijacker wants, you come home safe and sound.

And how long did it take for us to learn a different lesson: that you fight back, that you don't let the hijackers take you where they want to go? How many hours? That's a steep learning curve, but man, we got it.

And since then I've heard at least one story of potential hijackers having to be protected by security from the passengers. Yeah, we can take care of ourselves. Stop treating us like babies!
harrysmom at 2008-09-11 17:18 (UTC) (Link)
Shortly after 9/11 my ex-husband had to travel for work. He flies alot. While he was sitting in the terminal with the other businessmen, one of them looked up, saw all of them sitting there and said, "This is the deal. One person stands up, we ALL stand up." I don't think anyone will go down 'easy' in this day and age. We've learned to fight back.
carose59 at 2008-09-12 15:19 (UTC) (Link)
That's it exactly. They changed the rules of the game, but damn, are we fast learners!
Jonathan Andrew Sheen
leviathan0999 at 2008-09-11 20:02 (UTC) (Link)
The American People are so much braver, so much more heroic, than our government will give us credit for.
scribhneoir1 at 2008-09-11 15:18 (UTC) (Link)
the 'what if...'s can do your head in...
Jonathan Andrew Sheen
leviathan0999 at 2008-09-11 20:03 (UTC) (Link)
All it takes is holding your head up. We put men on the Moon. We can do that.
scribhneoir1 at 2008-09-11 20:08 (UTC) (Link)
it's doing the everyday things and just living your life as you would normally...holding youe head held high...
I remember a friend of mine from Scotland visiting once and he asked me was I ever scared, and I was genuinely shocked by the question...you just get on with things at the end of it all.
hedwig5221 at 2008-09-11 18:29 (UTC) (Link)
Well said.
Jonathan Andrew Sheen
leviathan0999 at 2008-09-11 20:04 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you. I just needed to.
oncelikeshari at 2008-09-11 18:40 (UTC) (Link)
I was on an IMDB message board just after the 7/7 bombing and somebody posted 'Now you know what it feels like' and you wouldn't believe the number of people from all over the world who jumped in to remind this person just how bombed to fuck this country has been.

We're so jaded now that a security alert just pisses people off because they have to go the long way home, there's no fear at all, just annoyance.
Jonathan Andrew Sheen
leviathan0999 at 2008-09-11 20:05 (UTC) (Link)
Any New Yorker would embrace you as their own. We can do that, if only our government will let us.
oncelikeshari at 2008-09-11 20:19 (UTC) (Link)
The opposition wouldn't dare claim that the government were to blame for the July 7th attacks. They caused the unrest and distrust and segregation amoungst the Asian community but they'd never say 'vote for us and you won't be bombed again'.

Jonathan Andrew Sheen
leviathan0999 at 2008-09-11 23:08 (UTC) (Link)
Our opposition isn't saying that. Too bad our party-in-power is, and in a Big Damn Lie, at that!
pokeystar at 2008-09-11 22:46 (UTC) (Link)
Lev, if you don't mind, I'd like to quote that last paragraph on my lj

It's pretty much what I think too.

Jonathan Andrew Sheen
leviathan0999 at 2008-09-11 23:08 (UTC) (Link)
By all means!
kerryblaze at 2008-09-11 23:35 (UTC) (Link)
Excellent post and ITA.
Jonathan Andrew Sheen
leviathan0999 at 2008-09-13 21:58 (UTC) (Link)
cyclonejuliet at 2008-09-12 10:47 (UTC) (Link)
Hey there.
Missed you.
Jonathan Andrew Sheen
leviathan0999 at 2008-09-13 21:58 (UTC) (Link)
I'm very sorry I've not been posting more. Hopefully we'll be able to see an improvement in my posting.
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