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.


Once again, I find myself at odds with the vast majority of humanity, or so it appears.

Some time ago, a friend of mine committed suicide. She was a member of my first therapy group, and I had seen her outside of that context maybe half a dozen times, if I were being generous. She was a nice person, and I would have enjoyed getting to know her better, and her death came as a shock to me. I cried for about five minutes, and then I was stunned and silent for another hour, and then I was back to business as usual.

Everyone else in the group thought I was some kind of emotionless bitch because I didn't grieve for her. They thought I felt nothing for her because I showed no response. A lot of harsh words changed hands, and the group
dissolved out from under the tragedy, though there were other events that urged it along.

Now, a terrorist attack has hit the United States, and I've been called un-American and heartless because I've felt nothing in the wake of the disaster.

My only response to the whole situation has been one of dark humor, at the Wag-the-Doggish nature of this whole affair. In the depths of America's recession and the President's slumping popularity, a terrorist strike comes
along to give people something on which to focus and bolster production. War has always been good for the economy. It's the sort of event that people like Art Bell make their livings squeezing for pseudofacts to fit their conspiracies.

I don't know anyone that died in the attack. I don't know anyone that knows anyone that died in the attack. And yet, because it happened on American soil (this phrase has been used a lot lately), I'm expected to be in sackcloth and ashes, wailing and moaning over the horrible tragedy. People who have no relationship whatsoever with the blast are pronouncing vendetta against the perpetrators, and our esteemed President is calling it "freedom
under attack". To me, this is the very sort of attitude that the people who attacked the US had, that striking out at faceless nobodies was the best and perhaps the only means of making a statement.

I am American by birth, but this to me is nothing more than a designation of location, not a sign of any affiliation or belief. I was male by birth, or so claims my birth certificate, and that didn't mean anything to me either. That these events happened in America is shocking only in their proximity; I'm three hours away from each of the major targets. Beyond that, it means nothing to me personally, only in how the after-effects will change the world around me. Because of this, I've already been the recipient of harsh words and I likely will continue to be.

More than anything, if I feel any emotion, it's anger at the double standard by which media stories are reported. Anger at the people who will use this as an excuse to rip away at my rights in the name of public safety. Anger at the faceless, blind sheep who will gleefully accept a new whip in return for the illusion of greater security. Anger at the media moguls turning a loss of life into a media festival. Anger at the idea that anyone could find bloodshed an acceptable alternative. Anger at my own impotence in the face of world-shaking events.

I once walked around in a dark cloud of angst and depression. My life was grey misery, and I believed I would never be free of it. One day, it lifted, and I learned how to love my life and the world around me. Now, instead of
grieving, I find myself celebrating the lives of those who have gone before me. I find within myself a desire to thank those who touched my life in their time on this earth. I wish not for my death to to be mourned but for my life to be exalted when my time comes. I want those close to me to face my death with a smile and the comfort that I milked my life for every drop of happiness that I could.

Now, because I feel no grief, I'm being ostracized by my peers who sit in numbed horror at events that don't really touch them.

I'm feeling very very alone.