White DE version 2

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Deja Vu

On the morning of 9-11-01 I woke up at 7:30 in the morning...for my regular work schedule at 9:00. After my shower, I turned on the television as I usually do while I am getting ready. The first thing I saw was a report on MSNBC that a plane had hit one of the WTC towers. While certainly a tragedy, I didn't thing too much of it. It has happened before...a plane losing altitude, hitting a building. It's not a common occurrence, but it has happened. As I continued to dress I kept an eye on the tv for any more information. Just after 8:00, I turned to the television I saw them playing a video...I thought it was a repeat of footage they may have had of the plane hitting the building. (I didn't know until later that there was only a French film showing the first crash...not shown until much later.) It quickly dawned on me that the building I saw was already ablaze...What is that other plane doing? Hitting the other tower, I soon found out.

The feeling was exactly the same as I woke this morning at 8:45. I turned on the tv as I got out of bed and headed for the bathroom. From there, I heard MSNBC talking about 3 subway and 1 bus bomb in London. Why, I thought, are they talking about this again. It was obviously a tragedy, but does it deserve such frantic coverage 2 weeks later? I came back to the bedroom and stood watching...still wondering...until the showed a map of the London tube system that looked unfamiliar. Shit. Again. Fuck.

How are we supposed to react to this? Exactly 2 weeks after the last blast. Should we just call off August 4th...two weeks from now...just in case? I know in 2001 we went through this...expecting another attack. But it never came. In London, it has. Could it happen, yet again, in 2 more weeks?

On another note, I am torn about something I heard on one of the news stations last night as I was falling asleep. One man was defending the right of reporters to protect their sources...a right I strongly support. The man opposing him was saying that concealing sources could hinder the 'war on terror'. This could be true in some cases...but where do we draw the line? How do we decide what sources get that protection? And what would the possibility of being identified do to people who have information, but might wish to remain anonymous. What might go uncovered... undiscovered... unknown... until too late? It's a fine line we walk in today's world.

What rights are we willing to give up for our own protection? In the US we have seen drastic changes in air travel. Viewed, sometimes, as a pain...have they been a deterrent? And what, besides being more aware, can we do for our own rail service? Being a habitual rider of the CTA in Chicago, I know first-hand that there is little security and certainly no screening process. Could it ever be feasible to screen train travel? Amtrak, surely, could institute a more rigorous process, but metro trains are, by definition, open to the public at it's will. A virtual standstill would occur if you tried to screen subway or el passengers before boarding.

If, in the future, it is not air or rail travel being attacked...what will be? The US is certainly no stranger of buildings being bombed, most memorably the OK City Federal Building and the WTC, itself, in the early 90's. At what point can we live without fear of attack? And, if we can't, is this a monumental change in the way we must live our lives going into the future?

1 Comments:

Blogger Matt S. said...

it's a slippery slope when you get into the issue of anonymity, the anonymous sources will stop coming forth with stories if they are going to be outed, but you're correct there are times when it is imperative that the public/government know if the source is reliable.

2:10 PM  

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