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"Write out of love, write out of instinct, write out of reason. But always for money."
Louis Untermeyer

Weekly Muse
My humble opinion on current events

September 11, 2001


Imagine you are a passenger on one of the hijacked Boeings that crashed into the World Trade Center and Pentagon. The pilots have been subdued or killed, and armed maniacs control the plane. The maniacs speak in a language you do not understand, though they occasionally bark orders in heavily-accented English. If you try to fight back or resist, you'll die. So you wait and hope for the best.

In the meantime, you notice the plane is starting to turn. You look out the window and see the dramatic skyline of Manhattan. This isn't right. You're headed to the West Coast from Boston. You look toward the cockpit. The maniacs have opened the door, and you can see out the window. The plane is headed straight toward the World Trade Center, and the maniac behind the controls is accelerating. Too late, you realize what is about to happen, and your whole world explodes into oblivion.

Imagine you are working in the World Trade Center. You've just arrived at the office, pouring that first cup of coffee, booting up the computer and reviewing your schedule. You hear excited and alarmed voices. You look up to see colleagues pointing out the window, mouths agape in shock and horror. You follow their stare, just in time to watch the massive airliner slam into the building below you, rocking and shaking the gigantic tower.

Black, acrid smoke billows around you. The lights flash and go dark. Sheets and balls of yellow and red flame engulf the building, blocking out the sky. Coughing, unable to breathe, you stagger to the nearest window. The flames recede, and you force open the window, leaning out, gulping in air, but even out here it is tinged with fumes and smoke. 

You glance behind you. Your friends and colleagues rush around blindly. Some head for the elevator, others for the stairs, others like you to open windows. Below is a solid wall of smoke and flames. You realize with a sinking feeling that there is no escape. 

You stay at the window and watch as businesspeople in pressed suits and silk blouses leap to their deaths, encased in fire. You wonder if you should do the same. But no. Help will come. It always does. Perhaps they'll send a helicopter, land on the roof, and come get you.

Hardly an hour later, you're still waiting as the tower collapses in a torrent of steel and concrete. Too late.

Despite my vain attempt, such a horror cannot be imagined. The attack at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon today is horrifying precisely because it is impossible to imagine how anyone could be capable of such an act. Who could be so inhumane, so utterly cruel, to force innocents to become unwilling tools in the murder of further innocents?

As of today, we don't know, but the common suspect is Osama bin Laden, the master terrorist widely suspected of the African embassy bombings in 1998. The Taliban has already condemned the attack and denied bin Laden's involvement, but that means nothing.

President Bush has vowed to hunt down and punish whoever is responsible, but such an outcome is not guaranteed. Many terrorist acts - the 1983 bombing of Marine barracks in Lebanon, the recent attack on the USS Cole - remain unsolved. Every American, though, should support the government's attempt to find the cretin who committed this crime. All Americans should do what they can to aid in the search.

The Palestinians who cheer and applaud such carnage are vile, evil, uncivilized barbarians.

The person responsible for this atrocity deserves to die. If it is an organization, it should be destroyed. If it is an individual, he should be killed, along with all accomplices. If it is a head of state, we should ground his government into dust. Simple justice demands it.

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