This morning I awoke with the same feeling I have had on this day for the last 13 years ; A slightly sick, apprehensive, melancholy aura hangs over me as I type this column. My mind flashes back to something that troubled me thirteen years ago, and continues to disturb me to this very day. Watching the events unfold on September 11, 2001 merited a different response from my analytical mind than it did to most. I somehow sensed that the attack was a game changer; that our nation had been fundamentally restructured to its very core by a single event. My God, I wish I would have been wrong that day. I wish I could have experienced the horror without knowing in my soul that our nation, “One Nation, Under God” was finished, and a new nation was being born of fire, smoke, and fear right before our very tear soaked eyes. I wish that I could have experienced raw, instinctual anger at a foreign “bogey man” that we can annihilate with guns and bombs until they never threatened us again. Oh, admittedly, I went along with the glorious nationalism for a while, but even then, as most of us held hands in silent prayer, something nagged at the back of my mind, telling me that this event was going to be exploited to its fullest. The spirit of our ancestors seemed to scream from their graves, telling us the “land of the free” was in mortal danger. I could not really put my finger on it then, but as time crept slowly by, and we got back to our daily routines, the picture started to emerge very clearly.
The very word makes some of us wince as images of skyscrapers crumbling to the ground, structural symbols of our military might burning, and scraps of barely recognizable aircraft lay scattered in a field roll through our minds like a demonic slide show. Fear is a powerful emotion, and has often been used throughout history to completely change the direction of nations. We surely allowed it to change ours.
From the Patriot Act, to the Department of Homeland Security, to the NSA, to our schools having a complete and total meltdown over a Pop tart shaped like a gun, we have become a nation of fear. We tremble every time the broadcast news flashes a picture of a crazed, black hooded, AK47 toting middle easterner across our television screens. We eye each other with suspicion when one of us says a taboo word like “gun” or “bomb”. We reluctantly turn in our freedom for security in hopes that we will never have to experience another attack like we did on that dreaded day, September 11, 2001.
Well, allow me to slap your pretty little heads back to reality and share what I have finally realized my nagging thought was for all of these years:
It will happen again!
In spite of all the “security measures”, all of the laws that have eroded our freedoms, all of the words that have become taboo, all of the schools that will not even allow the word “gun” or “bomb” to be mentioned, in spite of the Government pitting us against each other in the “see something, say something” campaign of paranoia… it. will. happen. again.
Just like Pearl Harbor, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Civil War, the Oklahoma City Bombing, the Boston Marathon Bombing, and countless other atrocities in our Nation’s history, we will experience another major crisis in our back yards. It is inevitable.
Why? Because there are bad people on this planet. They are everywhere….in different nations, in positions of power (some in our own Government!),even in your very own neighborhood! And bad people do bad things. Some of the bad things are on a small scale, and some are on a grand scale. It has been this way since Cain killed Able, and it will be this way throughout our existence. We have always had the Hitler’s, Mussolini’s, McVeigh’s, Dahmer’s, Jack the Rippers, and countless other evil souls among us, and we always will. I’m sorry, it is a cold hard reality.
Here’s the real kicker….our Government, or any other government for that matter, cannot prevent evil by taking liberty away from the innocent. In fact, history shows us that just the opposite happens. The more oppressive a ruling body becomes, the more evil rears its ugly head. Do you see where I am going with this, yet?
9-11 was a painful event, but it was NOT the end of our world.
I realize that there are groups of people that are out to destroy our nation. Our way of life was, and still is under attack! Yes, it is…..and some of the people attacking it are doing so in the name of our own protection! We need to wake up to the realization that no set of laws, no amount of authoritarianism, no oppression, no number of government sanctioned spy agencies is going to catch 100% of the bad guys. We also need to realize that there are bad people right in our own Government using the fear from these bad events to snatch our liberties away and promote their warped idealism.
The Fear Stops Now!
What we need more than anything as a Nation is courage! The courage to set aside our fear and take our liberties back. The courage to acknowledge these “bogey men” exist, yet continue to live our lives as a free thinking, free living people in these United States so as to NOT give evil the reign of our future! Our forefathers knew there would be evil, and they gave us the right to arm ourselves against it. Realize that fact and do not let anyone try to convince you to give up that right in the name of security. It has NOT worked in other lands (another cold, hard fact), and it will NOT work in ours.
Do you really want to honor the fallen in the attacks of 9-11?
Then do this; Arm yourselves! Arm yourselves with knowledge! Arm yourselves with courage! Arm yourselves with the steely resolve of one that will not be deterred by a newly drummed up “bogey-man” paraded out to us every month by the media. Teach your children that we were put here to be free from tyranny from without and within. Realize that bad things will happen, but they are the oddity, not the norm; that is why they are scary. Knowing this, take the precautions you can as an individual, but never sacrifice your freedom for the ideal of a false sense of security. Vote for representatives that feel this same way, and send them to our Nation’s capital with the mission of regaining our individual liberties back from the laws and regulations that were made in the name of “security”, yet do little or nothing to actually protect us.
It is time to once again to become the “Land of the Free and Home of the Brave”.
Love to all, and NEVER forget!
Al “The Atomic Dawg”