My Final Thoughts on 9/11

I was going to close out last week with some links, and then, like just about everyone else, I read this story about a woman, along with her seat mates, being escorted from a plane at gun-point, hand-cuffed, detained, strip searched….

Although most comments to her story were supportive, there was a train-wreck to the side.  Some commenters pretty much said that it was okay with them if she was treated this way if it made them safer.  I, for one, do not believe treating people this way makes anyone safer, and I am not keen on seeing my fellow citizens’ civil rights violated, even if mine are not.

There were those who called her to task because she called the folks who detained her names.  I believe she was making a subtle point about how judgment begets judgment, but even if she were not…most of us would probably hurl a few invectives, at least in our heads, if we were treated in the same way.  It is, after all, my understanding that a strip-search does not simply involve looking at you, but inside you.  Would you feel violated?  I would.

I have a cousin who has been through this a few times.  In front of her kids.  She is Moslem.  She covers her head.  She is a special-ed teacher and a U.S. citizen.  There is no reason for this.

I looked for the official DTRA story on this event, and though a search finds it, the link is not there, perhaps because this woman is now pursuing legal action.  I found it at FederalNewsRadio and that bit ended with a quote (which I will not cite) from, I believe, a fellow passenger, saying something like “if people are stupid enough to do these things on 9/11, they should expect this treatment.”


In all cases of airline passengers detained on 9/11/2011, the “stupid” thing people did was use the bathroom.  If using the bathroom on an airplane makes you stupid, then I get the Stupid Stupid award.  I too usually have to go more than once.  And sometimes I take a while.  Just like the two Indian gentlemen detained in the story previously mentioned.  Flying makes me queasy…

I wondered if the Indian gentlemen were Sikh.  Are people scared of turbans?

Does anyone recall that the first case of vigilante “justice” after 9/11 was directed at a Sikh gentleman?  Violence against anyone for how they look or what religion they practice – or really any “reason” – is not OK.  Yet it still seems doubly tragic that folks who follow a religion that upholds the concept of human equity are targeted.  I work with people who follow this religion – with its tenets of self-discipline and honor.  One gentleman is among the most honest and ethical people I have ever known.  He is a U.S. citizens.  His turban is not scary. He…

I can’t go on.  I keep imagining people I care about being hurt or humiliated in “retaliation” for something they had nothing to do with. I keep thinking about how I was afraid to write this.  This is wrong.  Ten years after this terrible tragedy, this is not where we should be. I will leave you with the links with which I was originally going to close out this subject.

My minister’s sermon from 9/11/2011 is here.  It is about forgiveness.

Here is (New Yorker) K. Tempest Bradford’s fictional take on the subject, called Until Forgiveness Comes.

Please do share your thoughts in the comments.  God help us all find peace in our hearts.  God help us all.


8 thoughts on “My Final Thoughts on 9/11

  1. It seems that people only care about things when they are directly impacted. Injustices are explained away and made the fault of the victim, as if that can protect us from being violated.

    I do remember the case of vigilante justice because it happened in the Phoenix metro area. I had been stunned by the 9/11 attacks, but was deeply saddened by that man’s death because that signals a deeper moral disconnect in our society. It shows how little value we put on human life.

    I read this article before 9/11 about how the mom of a victim in the 9/11 attacks became friends with the mom of one of the terrorists. I was touched (nearly to the point of tears) at how they were able to move past the ugliness and find human compassion. I thought it was a great example of forgiveness.

  2. This upset me too. A lot of people don’t seem to realize what the goal of terrorism is. It’s not to kill people. It’s to frighten people. You kill some people so that everyone else is afraid to go on with their daily lives.

    And it’s definitely worked. We’re sitting here in this “free” country, afraid to trust one another, frightened of certain minorities, of airplanes, of our government, willingly giving up freedoms for the illusion of safety.

    That, I think, is the most tragic part of the whole thing.

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