1225 View From Afar
(SEPT. 11, 2013) -- Years ago, it could be said with authority that the farther from ground zero or the Pentagon or Shanksville PA you were the less the attacks of 9/11/01 affected you. This no longer is quite as true as it was. Even to many of us who were there, 9/11 has been reduced to a cliche, a bunch of stupid slogans and platitudes. The forces of entropy have engulfed the events and their implications and have squeezed the life out of them, turned them into mindless fodder for talk shows and parasite politicians and parasite publicists for this cause and that.
American politicians use the name of Al Qaeda as a weapon more deadly than even the attacks. It’s a lodestone and a talisman to scare you, to abuse you, to take action in your name, action you disapprove.
“Homeland Security” is an excuse to track your phone calls, your snail mail, your email and the websites you visit. It’s something to wave in front of a sheepesque public allowing TSA agents to grope you at the airport. No backpacks in the stadium. Open your packages. Random luggage searches.
The new Trade Center is close to finished. It is less ugly than its predecessors and probably built more solidly. It is 1776 feet high, tallest building in the western hemisphere, fourth tallest in the world until some oil soaked sand dune Caliphate sheikdom throws up something a few feet taller just because it can.
Meantime, cops and firefighters and EMS workers who were at Ground Zero or the other points of attack still are dying before their time.
Now, a dozen years after the attacks, there still isn't enough said about why cops and firefighters and EMS workers are adding to the statistical death toll of that Tuesday.
We do this. We do it too often. And we do it with many a major event and many a catastrophe: we plasticize it. The judge looking at the city's paltry settlement with the living victims found it wanting and added to it. But this is not about some judge's view of who should be paid what. This is about lives. Men and women and children and their dogs and cats and goldfish, and who did right by all of us, only to be told "your lung disease is worth "x dollars," and we'll be happy to let you have it or give it to your spouse or kids or dogs or cats or goldfish some year when we get around to it and you're dead.
We have a replacement building, soon to be finished. And the residents and the tourists will pass by it or through it and feel sad.
But what about NYFD fire captain Ed Placencio or police academy recruit Jerry O'Rourke, who were still roommates at Mt. Sinai's lung ward years after the fact? Anyone drop by that room?
(Self plagiarism alert: Parts of this item were lifted from earlier Wessays on this subject.)
I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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© WJR 2013