Tuesday, September 11, 2012


I had overslept after working the night shift. A few times throughout the day, I heard my phone ringing. I ignored it.

When I woke up, I had a couple of phone messages.

"Erik, turn on the news. Any channel will do."
"Erik, look at the news. Terrorists crashed a plane into the World Trade Center."

In my mind, I pictured a small Cessna-type plane crashed in the WTC plaza. I got onto the internet and looked at CNN. A plane had crashed into the Pentagon, it said. Hmm, that message must have been a mistake.

I kept reading. Very quickly, I turned on the TV.

Many of my friends watched it live, but I experienced the full horror of 9/11 after the fact, having slept through the whole thing. My reaction was immediate: I accessed some guns and kept them handy, and verified the status of my loved ones.

In 2001, 9/11 proved to me (and hopefully others) that there was no scenario too impossible to plan for. Following 9/11 we witnessed the Madrid bombings, 7/7 London bombings, Fort Hood shootings, as well as a host of other terrorist attacks. Many of the "thwarted” attacks failed only because of the terrorist's extraordinary lack of criminal sophistication.

I certainly don't think that our response to 9/11 has been the correct one; the TSA is laughably incompetent, overbearing, and ineffective. Our wars overseas have been twisted to meet a political agenda that has nothing to do with fighting terrorism (I should stress that this in no way reflects on the men and women who served, and continue to serve with honor in our Armed Forces). But real, effective solutions to the problem of terrorism - both overseas and wthin our borders - seem to be elusive.

For our government, 9/11 has turned into an excuse to enact stupid laws and continue failed policies. For the majority of our citizens, 9/11 was just a movie they watched. It's ten years later now, and some are questioning if it is still relevant.

For roughly 5000 people, 9/11 will always be relevant - it will be the day they died in a war most of them did not know had been declared. We should honor their memory and not let their deaths be meaningless.

9/11 should have been a wakeup call for our government and our citizens. 9/11 has shown us that no terrorist scenario is implausible. For our citizens, 9/11 should serve as a reminder that, in the face of disaster, you and only you are going to be responsible for your safety.

I personally do not believe that we will never have another terrorist attack. I can only hope that I am wrong. If I am right, should I find myself in the midst of it, I am committed to rise to the challenge.

We all should be.