I don't have any sage words to add on the anniversary that every American should be observing today. Everything I have felt or thought has been said--and said better--by someone else. Yet, I would be delinquent in my responsibilities nonetheless if I failed to speak.
What really strikes me at this moment is the scale of the devestation: not that it was so large, but that it was so small. What's three thousand people more or less? Many more people than that die every year in car accidents. It's no more damage than we do to ourselves in casual murders over drugs, sex, and fashionable tennis shoes.
Yet it is this attack that is a disgrace to any creature that has ever laid claim to the title of human being. It is the essence of horror--delivery, unarmed, into a fate that you can forsee but not act to escape. Every facet of your life comes with its attendant risk, but you do not sit paralyzed with fear because you know that you have the power to act, even up to the last second, and that is the only power you need.
You can act, and act correctly, because you can reason; you can put facts together and solve the daily and deadly dangers that face you. If you work with your reason instead of fighting it you come to enjoy this exercise; mere security bores you and you seek out greater challenges to overcome. Even in moments of extremity you can seek out a solution. You can disarm a mugger. You can drive defensively. You can solve it.
But what can you do when your reason cannot serve you? You cannot reason with a madman. There is no solution for fireballs, clouds of smoke, and thousands of tons of collapsing steel. The one thing you have that preserves you from danger cannot save you. You become this man, waiting for an unknown fate.
I may not like what my fellow country-men choose to do with their lives. But I hate with all the fire that is in me those that would deny them the choice.
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