Eight years ago I was sitting at the computer on my day off from what turned out to be my last job. I was on a shooting and hunting bulletin board (I had no idea what a blog was) drinking my morning coffee and getting ready to go to the shooting range.
Someone posted something about an airplane flying into a building in New York City, on the handloading section of the shooting and hunting BBS, no less. I was wondering WTF but didn't think too much of it, after all a B-25 flew into the Empire State Building back during WW2. But every time I looked up there were more and more responses to that post so I clicked on it. I turned on the TV just in time to see the second plane fly into the other tower.
That sealed it for me, I knew right then that it was war. I mean, sure, one plane could be an accident, although it'd be hard to fathom a modern airliner's crew making that sort of error, but two? I stayed glued to the TV for a couple-three hours, until Linda Lou chased me off the TV and out of the house, she could not stand seeing the same tape rolled over and over any longer.
So I drove to the shootin' range, the highways were pretty well deserted, except oddly, the gas stations which were overflowing. It does not take much to overload our infrastructure and some trouble half a continent away can do just that.
Since I was too tuned to the TV at home I stopped at a Schlotzy's for a humongus sammich, and then drove in to the range. I did not shoot the rifle very well, I was too angry for tight groups. With the handguns I was my normal (?) self.
The only thing unusual about that range Tuesday was that only about half of the regulars were there and that the folks in charge mostly let us work out the cease fires between us. Tuesday was my usual range day back then, it was seldom crowded and those of us who were there were either retired or folks who worked oddball shifts. Well, there was one more unusual thing, we spent a lot of time running into the range shack where the portable TV kept us up to date with every new rumor.
One of the things I'll never forget is the crowds of medical people waiting for the injured to come. There were several pictures over that day and I could see the dejection as they realized that there was going to be no flood of injured because they were all dead. All those years of education, all those hours of planning for just such an emergency and there was no use for them that awful, beautiful fall day.
There are still pictures in my mind from that day. I remember the people jumping from the upper floors, cut off from walking down the stairs by the fire that was rushing up and giving them only the choice between burning or jumping. Sometimes, when I can't sleep, that one couple comes into my mind, the way they held hands as they jumped and how that camera followed them down, their hands separated and they fell to their deaths. As that film plays in my head I wonder. Who were they? Husband and wife? Lovers? Just friends from the office? Strangers driven into an impossible choice finding courage in each other, just for a moment? Only they knew and only God knows.
Another thing I remember, although not a picture) is how the body count kept getting smaller and smaller. It started out at upwards of twenty thousand and just kept shrinking. Too bad it didn't shrink more. One of the reasons we lost so many firefighters is that the structural beams of the WTC had no asbestos wrapping. I don't know that it made all the difference but asbestos works a lot better than what replaced it. So, would it have kept the buildings from pancaking until the firefighters put those fires out? Since none of the government and we're all going to live forever if we just removed these harmful things crowd ever mention it, probably. And, judging from the unusually high numbers of sickness among the rescue folks digging through the rubble, removing the asbestos didn't help anyone. Figures.
The rage and fear has faded among most of America. Too many have forgotten the "Palestinians" dancing in the streets. Too many have forgotten that liberal reporter having his head sawn off with a dull knife, on camera. Of course liberals now think they're safe. Too many now believe that it was all about George Bush, even though the planning started during the Clinton Administration.
This amnesia will do nothing but bring on another attack. Will it come with one of Iran's nukes?