Last night, I sat down and, as I try to do whenever I'm in a painful mood, I tried to figure out why I felt so upset. As I said before, it wasn't the events themselves that hurt me. I don't consider myself a patriot beyond the belief that the principles on which the United States was founded were sound and reasonable. I didn't lose anyone in the tragedy. The fact that so many people died at once is awesome in its scope but not really terrifying; death is just another part of living, and that even one person dies at the hands of another is a tragedy; increasing the number of corpses doesn't make it any worse for me.
I think it all comes down to trust and betrayal. When I spoke my mind about how I felt, I knew that my opinions would go against the grain of the majority. I knew when I opened myself to others that I would be seen as hurtful and cruel. It bothered me, to be told that how I felt was wrong because it was different, but I've lived with that in the past. If it had bothered me that much, my transition would have been impossible. I also knew, though, that I wasn't alone in my way of thinking, my way of feeling. I knew there were others who felt as I did, and I turned to them for support, only to have them shy away. I can't hold them responsible for that. They didn't want to be beaten down as I had, and I can accept that intellectually. Emotionally, though, I felt that I had been abandoned by those that I could trust, and that cut me to the core.
Mitchell wrote me off again yesterday for my darkly comedic response to the tragedy, calling my position callous and pathetic. For seventeen years, he was an older brother to me. My relationship with Rod soured me somewhat, but I can look at that now and call it the manipulations of an emotionally abusive boyfriend trying to turn me against who he must've seen as competition. I had really only just begun the process of rebuilding the friendship I once had, when this happened. After reading his message, telling me never to contact him again, I felt that I had been stabbed in the back.
In my circle of friends online, I fared little better. I had several people tell me in private that they felt similarly, that this had been a horrible tragedy but that it didn't really affect them personally, but none of them would at the time speak up in public and let their views be known. Somehow, knowing that I wasn't alone but that I would get no help in the open, it felt that much worse.
I have nothing to say to those who're grieving the loss of loved ones, of ideals, of the innocent notion that America is free from such things, of whatever was lost by those who lost it. It isn't that I don't care. It's that I know my words won't mean anything, coming as they do from someone whose view of the incident is so removed from the norm. I don't go around stomping on people's Slack when I can help it, though at times I admit I speak without thinking clearly, and my communication codec is a bit misaligned.
Instead, I can only address those of you reading this whose views are skewed as mine are, and I find that I really have nothing to say. Any message I could give, you already know, because you're at this point already. The shock is not that this happened, but that it didn't happen sooner. Now more than ever is the time to put the President under scrutiny, to ensure that he doesn't attempt to politicize and polarize this issue as the temptation is to do. This will be the true test of his character: not politics, not speeches, not boards of advisors to tell him what to think, but his ability to lead a nation dispassionately in a time of crisis.
I fear for the future. The clearest response to this measure is increased security, and with that inevitably comes a removal of some form of freedom. Most people, angry and scared, will gladly accept any new yoke handed to them now if they're told it's for the fight against terrorism. The missile defense shield is being hawked as the next step in the arsenal against terrorists, to protect the United States from privately-launched missiles, despite even the experts in the field admitting that the Star Wars project doesn't work.
Worse yet, there will be calls for vengeance, a proof that people can't do this to America and get away with it. Unfortunately, the people in question have already gotten away with it, and now their fate is secure. Either they
died on the planes, they'll die when they're captured, or they'll never get caught. Their destinies are already set. There's no amount of horror we could visit upon them for what they've done that will make them recant their
actions, and there's only so many times we could kill them before they're already dead.
When Timothy McVeigh was executed, he went to his death calm, serene, dignified, and utterly certain that his course of action had been right. The families of the victims of the Oklahoma City bombing that chose to watch him die felt, perhaps, that seeing him suffer as they did would somehow make it all better, that knowing he was in hell for a few moments would make their own pain easier to carry. I doubt that, if that's what they sought, they got what they wanted. We're going to see it again here, I think.
From a welfare state to societal murder,
"Bring back the noose" is always heard
Whenever those swine are under attack,
But it won't make you even. It won't bring them back.
-- Elvis Costello, "Let'em Dangle"
I believe in the death penalty. I believe that there are some people that need to be taken out of the gene pool for the betterment of everyone else. I think some people just don't play well with others, aren't worth the price of a life-time prison sentence and are better off dead so they can't hurt other people. This, though, goes beyond the death penalty. The call here will be for blood, for retribution against not only those who committed the crime,
but those who might do it again. Already people are calling for Afghanistan's devastation, even at the cost of people whose only crime was to be unable to fight against the ruling regime.
I think what is needed now is for those with the ability to find the perpetrators to do so, as ruthlessly, cleanly and efficiency as we were attacked. For the rest of us, all I can say is that we need to get back to doing things as we did as quickly as we can. Any sign that we were hurt or affected by this tragedy will be precisely the response those who did this want, and if we give it to them, they will do it again.
I bought my tickets from London to Thailand for my operation yesterday night. I had the tickets from Newark to London last week. My life will continue as it was before, a little more cognizant of the dangers of air travel but otherwise unaltered. To change how I acted, to live in fear of another strike, is what those who use violence to send their messages want. Perhaps this makes me inhuman, in some people's eyes. Perhaps it does.
I don't think I could live my life any other way.