Why I’ll Never Forget 9/11

I wrote this in 2008 and re-publish it every 9/11.

I’ve never delved deeply into my 9/11 memories on this blog or anywhere else but since there seems to be a movement to “put 9/11 behind us” among some on the left I wanted to put forward why I can’t, and I won’t.

I was in grad school on 9/11, Wesleyan University in Middletown CT. I had moved to Connecticut to make a change in my life and dry out. I lived in a small apartment at the time that stank like oily Chinese food until I had spent most of my free time there smoking Djarums and watching an old tv without cable. I worked a couple of lousy jobs until I started a job at the Middlesex County Y.M.C.A. in their before and after school program where busy parents could drop their kids off two hours before school began and three hours afterward. And yes there were parents who left there kids there all five hours.

I usually slept between shifts unless I had a class. I usually scheduled classes at night because I was used to being up late, but once I decided to stop drinking I didn’t have much to do. I didn’t have many friends either, because the first time you tell your old drinking buddies you’re on the wagon is usually the last time you see them. So I sat up most nights and smoked, sometimes I walked around a little but often enough I just sit in my living room, me and two cats and a pack of clove cigarettes.

The night before the attacks I had smoked more than usual and I was out of cigarettes so instead of going home and catching a nap after my first shift I hit a local smoke shop and strolled home. I remember it was a nice day and everyone seemed happy. I had even gotten off work early, usually we could get the kids to their teachers by 8:30 or so but I think that day it was much earlier. So I went home with my pack of cigarettes and decided to watch the news while drinking a an iced coffee I got from the Dunkin’ Donuts next door to me.

When I turned on the television the first tower was already burning. My mother went through the Trade Center everyday and her office was on Church street so I was worried. As I watched and the story unfolded I got a sickening feeling this was no accident as the local news had reported. I was about to call my mother when I saw the second plane hit on live television.

I remember yelling “No!” to the screen, I remember being shocked but mostly I remember feeling helpless. By that time phones were already useless, I couldn’t get through to my mother, I couldn’t get through to my wife who was working at a college just outside of New York City and the only information I was getting was from the news. At some point I knew this was a war although at that point I remember thinking it was the Russians because they had used commercial aircraft to invade Afghanistan.

I especially remember there was a Cuban guy who worked some sort of food cart outside the towers who was interviewed and he kept going back into the burning towers to help people just before the collapse and I thought about the fact that, given how much time I spent there before I moved, I probably bought food from him. And now he was dead.

In that little Connecticut college town I watched the news show examples of heroism as the people in New York pulled together to try to save their fellow citizens, and I watched as reports of other planes crashing horrified the nation. I kept trying to reach my wife and my mother and I couldn’t. I was panicked and upset and was desperately trying to figure out a way to get to New York when the phone finally rang. It wasn’t my mother or my wife it was my boss. They needed me at work early because the teachers were leaving.

The same elementary school teachers who had spent a good deal of their time telling kids who weren’t old enough to vote that Bush didn’t care about them (I saw the campaign posters they had kids draw in support of Gore) had fled like rats because they were scared terrorists would target a tiny college town no one’s ever heard of. I have never been as disgusted as I was in the moment Matt, my boss, told me he needed people to come in to staff the program because the school was closing. The school was closing but the kids were still there.

Matt was a good guy though. He asked if I was O.K., he told me I could use the program’s line to call my family if I needed to. So I went in to work and spent much of the rest of 9/11 with some worried kids who we entertained with card games while I discreetly slipped off to call my wife and my mother. My mother at the time was one of those people covered in ash walking across the Brooklyn bridge while my wife was comforting the kids in her department who had loved ones working downtown. Not every teacher abandoned their post, but enough did.

It was the next day before I learned I still had a living mother and my wife was safe. That same day a little boy in the program, about 10-years-old, came up to me in the morning and asked if I saw the Trade Centers collapse. He then grinned and started talking about how cool it was. The site supervisor whisked him away before I could respond, though I frankly don’t blame a child for what the parents allow. His parents never apologized.

Those next few days I started hearing, on my campus, the first rumblings of how we were at fault, how we shouldn’t respond with violence, how the whole thing was a tragedy we could have avoided. I heard nothing of the heroism of the many who died or the cowardice of those in our midsts who abandoned children to hide in their living rooms while child care workers, many of whom were teens themselves, came to the rescue of the school system. And I especially didn’t hear about the unmitigated evil of those who planned and executed the attacks.

I already heard people saying we should put this behind us.

The thing about 9/11 I will never forget is that at time when I was changing my views on a lot of things, like drugs and drinking and the various givens of the Libertarian lifestyle I wanted until then to lead, I saw a little snippet of truth. I saw that there really are two kinds of people in this world. There are the people who are selling hot dogs from a cart one minute and the very next they are ready to sacrifice their lives to save others from a burning inferno, and then there are people who leave children in a building alone, afraid and confused when they get the slightest hint of danger. There are people who pray for the victims of 9/11 and there are those who desecrate their memory by implying they deserved to die.

There are people like myself who tear up when they think of that day, and there are people who make jokes about 9/11 and those who did their best on that day to minimize the loss of life.

I hear people say that 9/11 changed them but I think instead of changing me 9/11 taught me something. It showed me who people really are and who I wanted to be. Most of all it showed me who I didn’t want to be, another out of touch professor who couldn’t bring themselves to applaud the heroes of 9/11.

Most of our “elites” hate the country and the rest of the people in it. They think 9/11 is a joke, they think patriotism is wrong and they think the rest of us, no matter how educated, don’t matter. That’s the key to understanding the teachers who left the elementary schools that day and to the Wonkette staff who think 9/11 is an example of American over sentimentality. To them the people who died, the people who served admirably and the people who were moved by 9/11 just don’t matter.

Neither does America, neither does our troops or even the ideals of freedom and liberty for all. What matters to them is them. What matters is their comfort and their ability live in an untouched cocoon of ideological purity where all voices say the same thing and no man need the courage of their convictions. What matters to them is the world not seeing how weak, craven and repugnant they are.

It was tough returning to Wesleyan to finish my Masters, not because of the work or bad memories, but because I know what kind of people I meet on university campuses. I know they’d leave me in a fire if I was unconscious, I know they’d stand back and watch me be murdered and afterward they’d tell people I probably had it coming. I know that no matter how much they claim to be interested in the welfare of others that for most their true face is that of a coward who will never be there for you when the chips are down. Just being near people like that makes me sick.

That’s why, despite the exhortations of the left, I cannot “put 9/11 behind me” or move on. I see it in their eyes and their faces, the cravenness, the spite and the nihilism. 9/11 exposes people like that for what they are, which is why they are so ready to have it forgotten. But the lesson of 9/11 is not one that can easily be erased. There are heroes in this world and their are cowards, and you can tell which by what whether or not they honor the victims of 9/11.

Obama’s Spineless Cult of the Mystics of Muscle

As the riots and killing in the Middle East of Americans continue supposedly sparked by an anti-Muslim movie, Obama and his spineless cabal continue to kowtow to the raiders and killers. Pamela Geller at Atlas Shrugs as usual has some of the best coverage. In a recent post, she exposes our “Sharia President” whose staff proclaims that the riots are directed at the film, not the US or the Obama administration.

Apparently, we are supposed to believe that these peace-loving Muslims were simply sent over the edge by a movie and would never, ever think of hurting Americans otherwise.  The irony of the murderous reaction to this film that depicts some Muslims as murderous seems to escape Obama’s mouthpieces.  The left has had the attitude that if we were just nicer to radicals they will love us. Effigies are being burned of Obama. Isn’t he supposed to be Mr. Nice Guy? Isn’t he the one who has bowed down to Islam? It doesn’t matter. They hate us and our culture. It doesn’t matter whether we have a spineless leftist in the white house or a Republican.

I came across this passage in Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged which is so apropos that I wanted to share. For those who haven’t read the book, the reference of mystics of muscle broadly relates to the leftists who want to control the products of labor. And Europe’s People’s States is the Communist incarnation of Europe that these mystics of muscle helped create.  You could substitute these terms easily with the current left and Islam.

I know Rand gets under the skin of some people, the left and the religious right especially.  But love her or hate her, this passage as well as many events and concepts in Atlas Shrugged were eerily predictive of what we are faced with today. And the book was published over 50 years ago. Rand experienced Bolshevism first hand in her native Russia. She loved the US and this book was her warning of what she believed this country was headed for if it stayed on the track it was going. Bold emphasis is mine.

“You, who are half-rational, half-coward have been playing a con game with reality, but the victim you have conned is yourself. When men reduce their virtues to the approximate, then evil acquires the force of an absolute, when loyalty to an unyielding purpose is dropped by the virtuous, it’s picked up by the scoundrels—and you get the indecent spectacle of cringing, bargaining, traitorous good and a self-righteously uncompromising evil. As you surrendered to the mystics of muscle when they told you that ignorance consists of claiming knowledge, so now you surrender to them when they shriek that immorality consists of pronouncing moral judgment. When they yell that it is selfish to be certain that you are right, you hasten to assure them that you are certain of nothing.  When they shout that it is immoral to stand on your convictions, you assure them that you have no convictions whatsoever.

When the thugs of Europe’s People’s States snarl that you are guilty of intolerance, because you don’t treat your desire to live and their desire to kill you as a difference of opinion—you cringe and hasten to assure them that you are not intolerant of any horror. When some barefoot bum in some pesthole of Asia yells at you: How dare you be rich—you apologize and beg him to be patient and promise him you’ll give it all away.

You have reached the blind alley of the treason you committed when you agreed that you had no right to exist. Once you believed it was ‘only a compromise’: you conceded it was evil to live for yourself, but moral to live for the sake of your children. Then you conceded that it was selfish to live for your children, but moral to live for your community. Then you conceded that it was selfish to live for your community, but moral to live for your country. Now, you are letting this greatest of countries be devoured by any scum from any corner of the earth, while you concede that it is selfish to live for your country and that your moral duty is to live for the globe. A man who has no right to life, has no right to values and will not keep them.”

In the world of Rand’s novel, those occupying the other side of the coin of the mystics of muscle are the mystics of spirit who are the religious leaders that Rand saw as just as detrimental to the mind of man as the leftists. They ask man to sacrifice his reason and pursuit of happiness to the cult of religious personality for some promise of happiness in the afterlife. Rand was an atheist and her lumping together of the two “mystics” is one reason her philosophy irks ultra religionists.

The Islamic mystics of spirit and muscle are one. Those killing and burning flags don’t give a damn about our first amendment. They don’t even want to institute something similar for their own people. But we do have the right of freedom of religion and freedom from religion in this country. Obama and his spineless cult of mealy-mouthed, mystics of muscle jeopardize this with their half-assed lip service to the first amendment more so than any far right evangelist.

When our Secretary of State even hints that a filmmaker might be responsible for the killing of American citizens by religious extremists (and come to find out allegedly hiding her own culpability), then more than our freedom of religion is jeopardized. These mystics of muscle represent “this greatest of countries” to the world as a country of Randian cringers, compromisers, apologizers and beggers who have no values left to live for. And that is what evil has been waiting for.

Stoned in Dearborn Link Roundup

A group of Christians staged a nonviolent demonstration at the annual Arab International Festival in Dearborn in June and were stoned by festival attendees. The police asked the demonstrators to leave instead of protecting them against the violence.

I originally came across this story at the Detroit Free Press. The author, Niraj Warikoo, put the usual Freep spin on the truth not mentioning the violent reaction of the Muslims, though he does mention some water bottles and pop cans being thrown and that “one boy then spilled some water on the missionary.”

I responded with this comment and a link to a video:

“I don’t support this Christian group but as per usual the Freep doesn’t tell the whole story. Here is another article with video. You can clearly see that the Christians are standing around holding signs and it’s the Muslims who start throwing things. http://dearborn.patch.com/articles/protestors-seek-to-disrupt-arab-international-festival#video-10336278”

That video I originally posted in my comment doesn’t show the reaction of the “religion of peace” as well as this one.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBaTVwIJH-E]


And surprise, I was called a bigot by a woman who left this comment with all the usual liberal name calling, condescension and obfuscation you would expect:

“It’s called “ethnic intimidation”, darling! How *else* are people supposed to react?  Furthermore, bigot, those perverts are about as peaceful as a pack of wild animals. Their hate was out there for all to see, precious! I wonder if you’d feel the same if people like them used the same tactics against YOUR church!”

Why is it that liberal women can never see how anti-feminist their language is to conservative women?  And not only does this mental giant seem to assume I’m a Christian, but she clearly has a problem with reading comprehension as I stated in the beginning of my comment that I don’t support the Christian group. I was simply calling out the Freep for not stating all the facts.

I appreciate that no one wants people telling them they’re going to hell at their celebration. But this was a public event and the Christians had a right to their demonstration as long as they were nonviolent. I don’t go to church but I remember Christians making similar statements at a new-age/Pagan convention in the Metro Detroit area many years ago. The attendees yelled back. They didn’t stone the Christians. They knew American law, which is something that us so-called bigots are considered egregiously hateful for expecting Muslims in this country to know and respect as well.

In fact, there have been plenty of times I’ve peacefully dealt with Christians stating their opinion, sometimes even hatefully so.  I didn’t even punch a Jehovah’s Witness chick who tried to stuff pamphlets in my car window while I was pulling out of my parking spot.  And one might even consider that stepping over the line of sharing her opinion into the area of messing with my private property.  But I’m not crazy violent so I just drove away.  No stones were involved.

The Blaze has more video of the stoning.  American Thinker and Front Page Magazine have more on this story. Jihad Watch and Pamela Geller at Atlas Shrugs have more info on the civil rights suit being filed by the Christians.

E.T. Williams of Whatever Happened to Common Sense on YouTube asks why the media is silent on this and we all know the answer.