On both April 19, 1995 (OKC Bombing) and September 11, 2001 (9/11 Airliner Attacks), this blog was "on the side hill, eating grapes" (i.e., unborn). For this blog, born in 2003, the horror at the Boston Marathon (April 15, 2013) takes its place with OKC and 9/11. There is a sidebar debate as to whether the horror in Boston on 4/15/13 was an act of terrorism (Or what? Criminal mischief?), but that is moot. OKC was domestic terrorism and 9/11 was foreign terrorism. IEDs are the tools of terrorists, foreign or domestic. Pondering the meaning of this latest horror, this blogger immediately thought of Leonard Pitts' Op-Ed column the day after 9/11. There is a constant refrain that runs through Pitt's column: "my people." Pitts, an African American, is speaking of every man, woman, and child in the USA with these references to "my people." In fact, Leonard Pitts Jr. deserves to wear the number 42 for his words of inclusion in a time of national tragedy. Finally, an unneeded suggestion: the FBI task force should draft "Maya" (the unknown CIA field agent who in her own words was the "mother-f***er" who found OBL in Pakistan") to help with the investigation. To hell with agency rivalries! It is time for us all to pull together. The "unspeakable bastard(s)" responsible for the atrocity in Boston on 4/15/13 should be apprehended, OBL-style. If this is a (fair & balanced) death-wish for the "unspeakable bastard(s)," so be it.
PS: There have been many (too many) instances of domestic terrorism in our time: bombings of homes and churches during the Civil Rights struggle, bombings of Planned Parenthood clinics by abortion-opponents, and the random shootings in the Washington, DC-area by a pair of rootless sociopaths. This blog means no disrespect to all victims of domestic terrorism.
]x Miami Fshwrap]
September 12, 2001: We'll Go Forward From This Moment
By Leonard Pitts Jr.
Tag Cloud of the following article
(Click to embiggen)
It's my job to have something to say.
They pay me to provide words that help make sense of that which troubles the American soul. But in this moment of airless shock when hot tears sting disbelieving eyes, the only thing I can find to say, the only words that seem to fit, must be addressed to the unknown author of this suffering.
You monster. You beast. You unspeakable bastard.
What lesson did you hope to teach us by your coward's attack on our World Trade Center, our Pentagon, us? What was it you hoped we would learn? Whatever it was, please know that you failed.
Did you want us to respect your cause? You just damned your cause.
Did you want to make us fear? You just steeled our resolve.
Did you want to tear us apart? You just brought us together.
Let me tell you about my people. We are a vast and quarrelsome family, a family rent by racial, social, political and class division, but a family nonetheless. We're frivolous, yes, capable of expending tremendous emotional energy on pop cultural minutiae a singer's revealing dress, a ball team's misfortune, a cartoon mouse. We're wealthy, too, spoiled by the ready availability of trinkets and material goods, and maybe because of that, we walk through life with a certain sense of blithe entitlement. We are fundamentally decent, though peace-loving and compassionate. We struggle to know the right thing and to do it. And we are, the overwhelming majority of us, people of faith, believers in a just and loving God.
Some people you, perhaps think that any or all of this makes us weak. You're mistaken. We are not weak. Indeed, we are strong in ways that cannot be measured by arsenals.
Yes, we're in pain now. We are in mourning and we are in shock. We're still grappling with the unreality of the awful thing you did, still working to make ourselves understand that this isn't a special effect from some Hollywood blockbuster, isn't the plot development from a Tom Clancy novel. Both in terms of the awful scope of their ambition and the probable final death toll, your attacks are likely to go down as the worst acts of terrorism in the history of the United States and, probably, the history of the world. You've bloodied us as we have never been bloodied before.
But there's a gulf of difference between making us bloody and making us fall. This is the lesson Japan was taught to its bitter sorrow the last time anyone hit us this hard, the last time anyone brought us such abrupt and monumental pain. When roused, we are righteous in our outrage, terrible in our force. When provoked by this level of barbarism, we will bear any suffering, pay any cost, go to any length, in the pursuit of justice.
I tell you this without fear of contradiction. I know my people, as you, I think, do not. What I know reassures me. It also causes me to tremble with dread of the future.
In the days to come, there will be recrimination and accusation, fingers pointing to determine whose failure allowed this to happen and what can be done to prevent it from happening again. There will be heightened security, misguided talk of revoking basic freedoms. We'll go forward from this moment sobered, chastened, sad. But determined, too. Unimaginably determined.
THE STEEL IN US
You see, the steel in us is not always readily apparent. That aspect of our character is seldom understood by people who don't know us well. On this day, the family's bickering is put on hold.
As Americans we will weep, as Americans we will mourn, and as Americans, we will rise in defense of all that we cherish.
So I ask again: What was it you hoped to teach us? It occurs to me that maybe you just wanted us to know the depths of your hatred. If that's the case, consider the message received. And take this message in exchange: You don't know my people. You don't know what we're capable of. You don't know what you just started.
But you're about to learn. Ω
[Miami Herald columnist Leonard Pitts, Jr. won the Pulitzer Prize for distinguished commentary in 2004. A former writer for Casey Kasem's radio program "American Top 40," Leonard Pitts Jr. was hired by the Herald as a pop music critic in 1991. By 1994 he was writing about race and current affairs in his own column. His column was syndicated nationally, and his 1999 book Becoming Dad: Black Men and the Journey to Fatherhood was a bestseller. After the attacks on New York and Washington, DC on 11 September 2001, Pitts wrote an impassioned column headlined "We'll Go Forward From This Moment" that was widely circulated on the Internet and frequently quoted in the press. In the column, Pitt bluntly expressed his anger, defiance and resolve to an unnamed evil terrorist: "You monster. You beast. You unspeakable bastard." Pitts attended the University of Southern California and earned a BA in English.]
Copyright © 2001 Miami Herald Media Company
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