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Posted By: Eric Sleator, on host
Date: Monday, September 24, 2001, at 09:28:01

On Thursday evening after the President gave his speech I posted part of my thoughts on the whole situation. I described my awe in the incredible historical significance of it and that I will be someone who will know what the world is like before, during, and hopefully after this crisis. While the post accurately reflected some of my feelings, it did not reflect on all of them.

(My apologies if this post sounds just like thirty others on the forum. I wrote it at home over the weekend and I haven't checked the forum since Friday.)

I feel not only awe and excitement but fear as well. As has been said by I'm sure thousands of reporters, America is no longer a safe haven. We've been attacked and our vulnerability, which I'm certain most of us never really believed in, has been slapped hard in our face. In my previous post I mentioned telling my grandchildren about our current times, but how do I know I'll live long enough to even have kids? There are even more dangers awaiting me in the coming years than the regular maybe-I'll-be-hit-by-a-car-maybe-I'll-get-leukemia-maybe-I'll-be-shot fears of everyday life. I've heard talk of biological weapons and how easy it is to spread them once you've got ahold of them. I could be unexpectedly and suddenly struck dead in the street or at the bus station or even in my home. I'm not safe. I don't feel secure anymore, and I don't know if I ever will again. And what if I get drafted? I'll be eighteen in a year and a half and I'll have to sign up for the Selective Service. I don't want to kill anyone and I don't want to die. And what if the U.S. doesn't win? I know that when people think of countries like Afghanistan they don't think of anything more advanced than nomadic herding, but they could win, especially if they get some strong allies. What will happen if we lose? How will our lives change? How will our country change? How will the world change?

I feel incredible disgust as well. The very idea that someone would savagely murder 6,333 people who had nothing to do with anything just so he could Make A Statement about our governmental policies is a wretched, repugnant thought to me. Six thousand lives! That's the size of a small city. You know, I've always felt that people are a little too cynical about mankind and that they should have a little more faith in their species. But then something like this comes along and completely dashes the whole notion to bits. How can anyone do something like this? This is the absolute worst part of humanity? WHY would someone do that? Have they no regard for the preciousness of human life? Do they have no conscience, no sense of right and wrong? It doesn't take a philosophy major or a master of theology to know that viciously and callously slaughtering thousands of innocent people for no damn reason is completely evil. I wonder whether whoever did this is having second thoughts about it. Maybe he's feeling remorse. Maybe he's feeling bad about what he did. That may be so. If he is, I suppose that's a bit encouraging. It would show that he's at least a bit human. At the same time, though, I have no sympathy for him. Second thoughts are pointless when he had six years to have FIRST thoughts. I'm saddened by the pointless deaths of thousands of civilians, but and maybe this is the dark side of my human nature coming through I will not be sad by his eventual just execution. I will feel a great sense of justice that day. I don't know whether that should disturb me or not.

Finally, I feel confused and bewildered. I'm trying to completely understand exactly what's going on but it's not working. I don't know whether or not we're going to war. If we do I don't know who it'll be with, I don't know who our allies will be, I don't know who our enemies will be, and I don't know whether I support or oppose a war. I'm sure someone knows these things (well, except the last one), but I don't. I honestly know very little about happening. Basically all I know is this: Tuesday about two weeks ago someone, possibly Osama bin Laden, masterminded brutal attacks on New York City and the Pentagon and has not so far taken credit for it. Shortly after that the President said we won't stand for it. Now I don't know what's going to happen, and that terrifies me.

I guess my basic point is that I'm not so callous as to feel only excitement because of the era I might live to see. I'm also confused by what's going on, I am appalled by the evil these terrorists have inflicted on us, and I am terrified out of my skull about what could happen soon. I guess my advice to the government would be to take it slow and, if it turns out a war is necessary, so be it; my advice to the population is to go about your daily lives but really try to think about what's happening; and my advice to myself would be _not_ to think about it, because it's freaking me out.

-Eric Sleator
Mon 24 Sep A.D. 2001

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