Tag Archives: 9/11

When will massacres matter enough to cause change?

“These neighborhoods are our neighborhoods and these children are our children.” President Obama in statement made following the recent Sandy Hook Elementary School Massacre killing 20 children and 6 adults in the school.

Where do Americans stand on gun laws? Gun control?

In a pew poll taken after the assassination attempt on Congresswomen Gabriella “Gabby” Giffords, the country was divided. 49% said it was “more important to protect the rights of Americans to own guns” and 46% said it was “more important to control gun ownership.”

After the shooting in the movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, 76% said, “There should be some restriction on owning guns,” according to a CNN/ORC poll.

At present time, roughly half of American states allow gun owners to carry their weapon openly into public places.

Also, making more news recently is the “Stand Your Ground” law. This law really came into the public eye during the Trayvon Martin case in Florida.

There are a host of other states with very similar laws.

Florida, as well as others in this list do not have a “duty to retreat” clause which means if you can get away without harm or deadly force but shoot anyway, you can be prosecuted. Most of the states with the “Stand Your Ground” law do not have the “duty to retreat” clause. Many of these laws are written in a vague way leaving the law to be used as a “blanket way out” for many shootings.

These laws were often introduced as a way to help “victims” in cases such as domestic violence where victims often felt blocked and unable to flee or ended up shooting their attackers (which happened to be their domestic partner) and found it near impossible to defend themselves in court. When was it okay to kill someone under your own roof?

But, the law has left it open for arguments leading escalating, turning into assaults and then murder to be defended under the “Stand Your Ground” law. What would have been different if a person hadn’t had a firearm on them? What if they didn’t feel it was okay to cry “self-defense” in what would typically end up in an assault and battery case but instead, someone is dead. Has the law been a positive or a negative? Who has it actually helped more?

Guns and politics have become so entwined as the NRA has become more involved through the years with politics, legislation and politicians.

The NRA runs ads campaigning for those who promote their cause and against those standing in the way of their proposed changes in existing laws or future goals.

By funding politicians, their campaigns and having their own people in Washington, the NRA is assured of having a way to get current policies changed or new legislation passed, changed or set aside. The problem is much of this happens without knowledge of the general public both through state government and federal government.

NRA does not run the US government and does not make the choices for what is good for America. That is done through the voters. We vote who we want at both the state level and the national level. Are we listening to what these politicians are standing for and against? Who is supporting them and funding their campaigns? What are their intentions?

Ask yourself why the NRA has had nothing to say since this most recent massacre? Statements have come out from all over the world. World leaders are offering condolences. Many actors and actresses are coming forward and saying things should be done with violence in movies and TV may need to be looked at. Networks rearranged TV schedules following the massacre due to programming that may have been viewed as showing things in bad taste.

Sunday morning talk shows have done numerous interviews and Meet the Press asked any of 31 pro-gun senators to appear but none responded. Silence speaks volumes.

Using the words “gun control” is beginning to sound UN-American. I think doing nothing as we are seeing more massacres, people crying in disbelief as their loved ones are being identified, going through autopsies and realizing their last conversation was their LAST conversation… that is UN-American.

Personally, I can’t participate in ignoring an issue that is continuously being swept under the rug by groups that argue for their freedoms while others are losing their loved ones, their lives and their future or their sense of security. What about their freedom, our freedom?

Weapons used for hunting and sporting do not call for assault weapons or weapons with large magazines that can gun down numerous people (or animals) in just seconds or minutes.

Many assault weapons are not for either of these uses and are only used to promote keeping an argument going instead of coming to an agreement.

Responsible and legitimate gun owners, politicians and people across America need to give pause to this, put politics aside and be able to really look at this very serious issue, discuss it (peacefully) and deal with it.

Yes, there should be limits, laws, background checks and training required. Yes, there should be renewed proof of this at the time of license renewals for each weapon. A responsible gun owner would understand the need for this because they would only want other responsible and trained, regularly licensed gun owners having other weapons as well.

A major argument is that responsible gun owners and legally purchased guns are not the problem.

My first response is I find it amazing that each “responsible gun owner” can speak for all the other “responsible gun owners” as though they meet all the time and know each other very well.

My second response is that is not true. Legally purchased guns end up in the wrong hands more often than these “responsible gun owners” must realize. The ability to purchase guns is far too easy in far too many places. There needs to be universal laws when it comes to background checks, waiting periods, guns and ammo purchases and an assault weapon ban.

My third response is this. ”Responsible gun owners” do not come with a magic chip in them saying they are responsible, will keep their weapons locked up properly, only use their weapon in the absolute necessity that it is needed and will be in 100% tip top emotional and mental condition for the rest of their life. They also don’t have the promise no one in their family won’t get to their weapons or someone breaking into their home won’t be able to do the same. There are no guarantees.

The NRA makes it seem as though guns are the answer to protection and the government and its laws are trying to take that away from people.

For those trying to hide behind the 2nd amendment, they aren’t the ones who control this discussion. The idea however of more guns being the answer has proven to be wrong, dead wrong.

This is a must read article by:  Mother Jones, “More guns, more mass shootings – coincidence?” Their team put together a lot of facts about guns, violent crimes, laws and changes through a lot of investigating on their part. I urge you to look at the numbers.

Also, looking at some graphs put together by Simon Rogers with the Guardian, America is well armed compared to other societies around the world (88 per 100) and our gun violence speaks for approximately 60% of all homicides.

Another argument is not only guns take lives.

True. It isn’t just a weapon that ends a life. It is a person who believes they have a justified reason to do so.

As humans we react many times out of emotion. In many of these cases, there are feelings of anger, hate, revenge, defeat, entrapment and many times nobody knows what set a person off to commit such violent crimes.

The right thing to do, if a person is thinking rationally is to walk away, take some time to think things over, seek some advice or maybe get more details. A lot of times people are going through situations where counseling is needed and has been needed but either they didn’t know it, didn’t seek it or it wasn’t available.

Too often, a gun is too easily available to pick up, steal or purchase.

Not everyone committing these horrible murders/suicides, massacres and violent crimes were “monsters” before these acts. Many times, no one noticed any signs of behavior change, isolation, depression or signs of mental illness. Other times, it was noticed but they were unable to get help or convince the person to get help.

Does that mean people with emotional or mental illnesses are “monsters”? No. It means people with problems need to be able to seek help, get the proper diagnosis, counseling, medications and not be labeled with a stigma as being “crazy”.

If a person in need of help seeks help and receives help, this is definitely not “crazy”. That is the right thing to do and it should definitely be available to anyone in need of these services.

Many people with emotional and mental illnesses can live fulfilling lives alongside everyone else if they are able to get the medical and emotional help necessary. This important issue in our society cannot continue to be ignored. This is a huge gap in our healthcare system leading to economic and many other life issues. It is easier for Americans to access guns than mental health care. Without truly dealing with this, we can’t move forward on dealing with these murder/suicides, massacres and violent crimes.

There are two sides to be focused on immediately without involving political favors, campaigning, lobbyist and self-promotions.

1)      Too many weapons without just purpose or place in our society (other than within our military)

2)      Not enough available care and treatments for those with emotional and mental needs and disabilities.

For those who can’t clearly see these needs, they aren’t focusing on the real problems. They are standing in the way of what needs to lead to a drastic change.

We can’t just cover the cracks or kick the can down the road.

Our biggest war is going on here at home and our children and loved ones are the victims.

What is the difference between these recent massacres and 9/11? We are part of the blame. We vote. We have voices and if the issue isn’t being addressed, keep pursuing the issues.

These victims didn’t have a choice and now their voices have been silenced.

20 children silenced (ages 6 – 7) and 6 adults (their principal, school psychologist, two teachers, and teaching assistants)

This is our country, our communities and our neighborhoods. Those teachers are our teachers and those children are our children.

Speak up.

UPDATE: President Obama speaks at Newtown High School

Must see video below:

Video Tribute “Lives cut short by school shooting” – by: Anderson Cooper and the AC360 Team

 

Add on: “Balloons released to Heaven Among the Stars” Remembering Sandy Hook Elementary, Newtown, CT.

With love, 

Tribute to Sandy Hook, Newtown CT December 14, 2012

America is a land of heroes and honor

Vigil held in rememberance of September 11th

How has our Nation changed since the attacks on September 11th, 2001? Did Osama Bin Laden’s death bring any closure for us?

I had often wondered how our Country would react when Osama Bin Laden was captured or killed and that day finally came.

Now the 10 year mark, or anniversary, of the attack on our Nation is just days away. This tragedy is often talked about and looked at on a large scale as something that happened to our Nation, as one, and in a way it did. Many parts of our national security have been changed.

However, the effects that linger on in our Nation are something that can be looked at individually. Life, for many has taken on new meaning. The individual security we once had, as well as a great deal of conveniences, has been changed. What was once thought to be a simple weekend get-a-way or business trip isn’t the same anymore.

Those passengers aboard United Flight #93 did not hand over their boarding pass knowing they would be called upon to make a decision to save countless lives and go down in history as heroes to so many. Was it a decision or did they just carry out a selfless act as they would have in any situation put in front of them any other day of their life?

At Ground Zero that day, the first responders grabbed their gear and set out to save lives as tragedy continued to unfold around them and around our Nation, yet none of us really knew just how horrific these moments would turn out to be even as they happened in front of our eyes. Like I said, this was unimaginable to us, at the time.

Alongside those first responders at Ground Zero were many everyday men and woman, now referred to as heroes, helping each other and doing whatever they could to assist the city’s firefighters, police and other rescue workers, offering a hug or an arm to someone who was too weak to walk or plenty of people who were consumed by dust. Were they trained to do this? How could they have known they would be needed in this situation? But, they helped in any way they could. That makes them heroes, to me.

On September 11th, 2001, something we never imagined could happen to our Country, the United States of America, did. As one plane after another flew into incredible buildings taking them down and thousands of lives with them, our lives were forever changed.

However, the response across America, overwhelming and almost instantly was brotherhood, heroism, united efforts, strangers reaching out to strangers, and people offering one another peace in a time of grief and utter devastation. In a time of chaos, when people could have been at their worst, the united response was to rise up and come out giving comfort and show that together we can get through anything.

America is a land of opportunity, a land of ideas and solution, heroes and honor. All of this goes together when we all come together, to stand strong, united.

On this September 11th, let’s keep our unity strong so America can flourish, strengthen and together, move forward.

Below is a song/video Tribute “America Stand Strong” – Tribute to 9/11 which you can use this link if the video area doesn’t appear. Please feel free to share your comments on the tribute or how 9/11 affected you, where you were on that day or how you live life differently now.




The song, “America Stand Strong”, was written and composed on September 12, 2001 by Myron Solomon.


Myron is a U.S. Army Veteran who now serves with the Department of Homeland Security


Past article on September 11th attacks written in 2010

“Looking back and moving forward on 9/11”

TSA: Protecting America?

Over 600 million people fly each year <BR> Photo by: Andrei Dimofte

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) was created shortly after 9/11 as a part of the Aviation and Transportation Security Act passed by the U.S. Congress.Prior to its creation, airport security screening was handled by private companies through contracts.



TSA also oversees the Federal Air Marshal Service (FAMS). Air Marshals blend in with other passengers on boarded flights using their training to detect criminals and/or terrorists behavior and can react with precise firearm accuracy if needed.

Before 9/11, the U.S. felt different to most people and although time has passed, the desire of those wanting to do harm inside the U.S. and to American citizens has not. There are continuous threats.

As time has passed, there have been further incidents of people trying to bring things on board planes to bring them down over U.S. soil. Although these attempts have not been successful, some of them have gotten more media attention than others.

Most people have heard about the “Underwear bomber” and his attempt to bring down an American Airline plane over Detroit in December 2009. Al Qaeda took credit for this attempted attack by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a 23 year old Nigerian.

The bomb packet was six inches long and sewn in his underwear containing a highly explosive chemical, PETN weighing approximately 80 grams, enough to blow a hole in the side of a plane.

In December 2001, Richard Reid, also known as the “Shoe Bomber” tried to detonate a bomb in his shoes aboard his flight from Paris to Miami but due to the smell of smoke and his having difficulty lighting the fuse, he was subdued by several passengers, administered a tranquilizer and arrested upon arrival at Logan International Airport. The chemical found in his shoe was also PETN weighing about 50 grams, also enough to bring down a plane.

TSA continues to adapt in order to protect the nation’s transportation systems. That is not a clear or set strategy that can or should be spelled out and released because part of real security is the unknown and the inability for someone with a desire to do harm to preplan their moves through security measures.

It is understandable that people have felt uncomfortable with changes or certain parts of security procedures but blaming this on the TSA is not taking into account what they have already prevented from happening and continue to set out to prevent.

TSA officers have stopped countless weapons, chemicals, drugs and wanted criminals from boarding airlines. News coverage typically covers only the negative events as seen in these past few days and weeks and most recently since 23 year old John Tyner told a TSA officer, “If you touch my junk, I’ll have you arrested.”

John Tyner had first checked on TSA’s website to see if the airport he would be flying out of had the full body scan machines as he didn’t want to go through one. He said the website didn’t list his airport. When he arrived at the airport and realized they did use the full body scanners, he tried to stay in a line that would use the metal detectors. But, he was called out to go through the full body scanner.

He then used his cell phone to record the rest and refused the full body scanners and as the dialogue went on he was told he would have a “pat down” instead. After speaking to a supervisor about not wanting the pat down and being told he wouldn’t be able to fly without one, he said, “I don’t understand how a sexual assault can be made a condition of my flying.”

Going to the airport and preparing to fly out does mean a person will go through security measures and can be put through random and continuous security searches. When buying a ticket and arriving at the airport, this is made very clear.

The point is security is more secure with not knowing every detail prior to the actual arrival at the checkpoint. TSA has been very upfront with the possibilities of what procedures travelers may encounter however. These procedures have been put into place for good reason and that is to protect America and every person flying.

Terrorists have figured out how to make bombs using things that won’t show up in standard metal detectors, wands or screening belts at airports.

Keeping America safe is a priority for everyone. It shouldn’t take another 9/11 or a single incident of a few lives lost on a flight to raise awareness of how important raised security is to be taken seriously and to understand it is for the benefit of every traveler, everyone family member of those traveling and every employee at the airport. Many lives are affected by decisions being made at those checkpoints.

In America, profiling is not an option in many circumstances other than by behaviors of odd ticket purchasing techniques, luggage check- in or the lack of, one way travel, cash purchases and many more behavior detection profiling that may cause concern but security works on many levels and a great number of officers are watching passenger behavior as well.

TSA also works internationally with many other countries to ensure international rules are clear and consistent to enable passenger clarity and therefore safer flying.

It is being said that the new full body scans or the new enhanced pat-down procedure is going too far and this is causing quite a bit of hype and anger.

Airports, across the country this week, will have millions of holiday travelers which is already a concern to security and families waiting for their loved ones to arrive.

On Wednesday, which is one of the busiest traveling days of the year, online groups are calling for a National Opt-Out Day in response to TSA’s new enhanced security techniques. Their idea is for people to opt out of the full body scanner forcing TSA officers to pat them down.
According to Jim Babb, co-founder of this National Opt-Out Day, this should cause chaos at airport checkpoints and deliver a message to agency officials, politicians and the airline industry.

This is unimaginable that anyone would want to cause any type of chaos at an airport especially with the intention to cause issues with security measures and even more appalling is the desire to do this after what happened on 9/11. This is putting peoples’ lives at risk intentionally or at least asking others to do so as Jim Babb has said he will not be traveling on Wednesday.

Over 600 million people fly each year along with millions of bags that go along with them. It is up to TSA’s officers at 700 checkpoints using the latest techniques and up-to-date technology to stop the unthinkable. However, what is unthinkable to one is in the planning stages to another.

Terrorists continue to threaten America and Americans abroad. One life lost is one life too many. Security is everyone’s responsibility.

U.S. and the rest of the world

Most people around the world have heard about the 33 Chilean miners who were trapped on August 5thwhen their mine suddenly collapsed.

At the moment, their rescue is being watched live around the world as each miner is being brought to the surface via a small tube just big enough to hold each miner, one by one from nearly half a mile underground. Each miner is wearing sunglasses as they haven’t been in sunlight for over 65 days. This has been a day of happiness for not only those waiting at the site but also many around the world watching live as these events unfold.

People have sent words of encouragement, hope, prayers and support from all over the world to the friends and family of the miners.

Often times, it is said that the U.S. needs to concentrate on its own issues and not worry about what is going on in the rest of the world. People ask why the U.S. offers aide and assistance to other countries when our country is so in debt or why our news networks have such continuous coverage of disasters or even these types of stories in other countries.

These same questions came up soon after the earthquake in Haiti earlier this year because people didn’t understand the continuous news coverage being done or why the U.S. was encouraging fund raising efforts for Haiti when people in the U.S. were facing such devastation of their own due to an economic crisis.

When Hurricane Katrina happened, the coverage was shared around the world and the same thing happened after the attacks of September 11th. Other countries shared in our pain and offered their words of condolences and backed us up with aide after Katrina and support for the War on Terror.

One thing that was pointed out from others when seeing the footage after the 9/11 attacks was how those abroad were seeing Americans at their best in the worst of times. Americans were united together to help each other out, pull each other up and bring strength back to a nation that had been shaken.

It didn’t make a difference what a person’s race was, or their religion, nationality, beliefs or whether they were gay or straight. Nobody was asking those questions. They just wanted to help someone who needed help and move America forward from a bad situation.

Over the past few years, America has been in a bad situation. This wasn’t a small part of America or something that could just be cleared up in a day with a quick fix or an easy plan. This was an enormous and devastating economic meltdown that happened over years. First, without many people knowing and then without being properly managed to bring it to a halt which allowed an even broader, long lasting, economic crash.

Due to the housing and mortgage collapse and the stock market collapse in 2008, it felt as though the rug was pulled out from under many Americans who before that time had a sense of security in their homes, jobs and savings or some type of stock or retirement plan.

Many people lost their jobs due to company closings or cut backs, their health benefits and their homes due to the inability to make payments and with so many unemployed trying to find a job would become an opportunity so many would be seeking and few would find, only making the current situation that much worse.

At the same time, our country was going through presidential elections. These elections were being watched all over the world. Why are so many people concerned about the outcome of the presidential elections in the U.S.?

During the campaign, John McCain was saying he had more experience in Washington than Barack Obama and therefore would be a better president and Obama was running on the fact he would be able to bring change to D.C. and could bring hope to America when America truly needed hope and change.

Part way through the campaign, due to a serious downturn in the economy, a $700 billion bailout package for the financial industry was drafted and passed by both the House and the Senate. The country was desperate to elect someone who would get the country moving forward and back on its feet but many didn’t realize how much damage had really gone on for years within the financial industry and how much corruption had taken place.

In November 2008, Barack Obama was elected into office and from the beginning had started making changes and has continuously worked alongside his team to make things happen, moving America forward.

To see some of President Obama’s achievements, click here.

There are many people that question why more hasn’t been done, why it isn’t more obvious that America is on the road to recovery. Of course it would be best if everyone who needed a job had a job. It would be best if everyone who lost their home was placed back in a home with a suitable mortgage.

Aside from curing all the devastating diseases, making sure that people are able to have insurance, not be turned away due to pre-existing conditions or have their insurance company say they’ve reached their yearly or lifetime maximum payout is something that should have been an easy agreement by both, the House and the Senate as well as the American people. Healthcare should not be made into a political argument or slogan like “Obamacare”. It should be a human right.

If those in Washington were more worried about the people they were working for instead of themselves being reelected, much more would get done.

I asked early on in this article why should Americans be worried about what goes on in the world or other countries? Why should we get involved? Why does the world watch what goes on in the U.S.? Should it matter to us what other countries think about us?

The U.S. is made up of immigrants from countries all over the world. This country has been added to by immigrants, although some have family here that has been here for many generations, and others for a few generations or maybe some have just come here recently, roots go back to other countries. Many still have families in those countries and are very concerned on a daily basis for their family and their country. Their family there is very concerned for them here. That is how America is. That is what makes America strong. It’s diversity. With each person and their background, their heritage and their culture, America has gained a great strength. The land of opportunity has always had an opportunity to learn as well from every person that has come here just as they have had the opportunity to learn by coming here.

When a natural disaster happens anywhere, we have people here that are very concerned about their families who live in their countries not knowing whether they are dead or alive, homeless or if their home is okay.

We have many American citizens living abroad. Our concern for them does not end at our borders.

Our government also maintains relationships with other countries for diplomacy reasons and compassion is an act of humanity.

These are just a few reasons to care about people all over the world, to offer aide when possible and to lend a helping hand when needed.

Of course the U.S. has to take care of its home front, its people and protect its borders but that doesn’t require throwing in the towel on humanity and forgetting what other countries truly mean to us and our own citizens.

It’s been said, “The only time you should look down on a person is when you are helping them up.”

Looking back and moving forward on 9/11

It’s a beautiful day, clear skies, sun shining and people walking around just like any other day.

A woman goes into Starbucks and picks up a tall, skinny latte and then heads back out making a quick call back home to remind someone she’ll be home early today because they have guest coming to dinner. “Don’t be late”, she says.

Moments later, she heads into the North Tower of the World Trade Center.

At Boston’s Logan International Airport, a man waves bye to the friend dropping him off. In such a rush, he nearly leaves his ticket in the car for American Airlines’ flight #11. It’s a rush to the gate, but he makes his flight.

As a few co-workers are getting some last minute paperwork printed up and start heading out the door to a meeting, one man reminds his assistant, “Bring both of the files off the desk.” They turn around to open the door and…

On September 11, 2001 lives changed. Where were you?

8:46 A.M. American Airlines Flight #11 crashes into the North Tower of the World Trade Center

8:48 A.M. The first television report is broadcast locally on New York’s WNYW station

8:49 A.M. CNN breaks into a Ditech commercial with live footage and the screen subtitle says,“World Trade Center Disaster”

9:03 A.M. United Flight #175 crashes into the South Tower of the World Trade Center

9:15 A.M. NBC’s Today Program makes unconfirmed statements from employees at United Airlines that an American Airlines aircraft had been hijacked previous to its destruction

9:17 A.M. All NYC area airports closed down

9:18 A.M. CNN makes reference for the first time saying foul play may be involved. FBI is investigating foul play

9:23 A.M. Text message sent to United Flight #93 warning “Beware of cockpit intrusion-Two a/c {aircraft} hit World Trade Center”

9:24 A.M. FAA notifies the Northeast Air Defense Sector about the possible hijacking of American Airlines Flight #77

9:28 A.M. Hijackers storm into cockpit of Flight #93 and take over flight. Takeover is overheard by flight controllers in Cleveland

9:29 A.M. President Bush makes first Public Statement about attacks from Emma E. Booker Elementary School in Sarasota, FL where he had been visiting with students at the time of the attacks

9:37 A.M. Flight #77 crashes into the western side of the Pentagon

Immediately the Nation becomes aware that these are possibly calculated terrorist and more can continue to happen

9:43 A.M. the White House and Capital are evacuated and closed

9:45 A.M. United States airspace is shutdown. No civilian aircraft can take off and all aircraft flying are told to land immediately at nearest airport. All international flights are directed to land in Canada. Transport Canada, Canada’s transportation also shuts down its airspace

9:57 A.M. Passenger revolt begins against hijackers aboard Flight #93

9:59 A.M. The South Tower of the World Trade Center collapses

10:03 A.M. Flight #93 is crashed in a field in Somerset, Pennsylvania due to hijackers and passengers fighting. Reports indicated passengers had learned of the World Trade Center attacks and planned revolt to resist the hijackers

10:10 A.M. Part of the west side of the Pentagon collapses

10:28 A.M. The North Tower of the World Trade Center collapses

10:50 A.M. Five stories of the Pentagon building collapse

4:00 P.M. National news outlets report that high officials in the federal intelligence community are stating that Osama Bin Laden is suspect number one.

Due to the attacks on September 11, 2001, 2,977 innocent people lost their lives. Their families and their friends lost loved ones. What these people could have brought to the future of the world will never be known but each of them has a name and should always be remembered for who they were and the lives they touched.
September 11, 2001 was caused by the hate of a group of extremist, an Islamist Militant Group and Osama Bin Laden. These attacks were not caused by the countries these individuals are from or the religion they claimed to be fighting for.

This day was a day that would forever change our Country but it shouldn’t tear down our Nation. Our Nation shouldn’t be formed by our history. We should learn from our history and focus on our growth and our future.

To be held back by that horrible day and the events that took place is not honoring those that were lost but it is awarding and remembering those 19 individuals that attacked and is also showing Osama Bin Laden that America can again be broken due to its division.

For America to be strong, its people must be United, showing each other respect, understanding and overall, having the desire to see America move forward.

~Please share your thoughts and comments at the bottom of the page. To receive and email alert when upcoming articles are released, subscribe at the top of this article.

Updated add on:  See article “America is a land of heroes and honor” with a tribute to 9/11 “America Stand Strong”

Homegrown Terrorism

It has become clear what goes on in one part of the world will be seen all over the world, often times in a matter of moments. Good news travels fast but it seems bad news travels even faster and is often repeated the most.

In July, the Dove World Outreach Center’s preacher, Terry Jones set the date of September 11th to burn the Holy Book of the Islamic religion, the Qur’an. What was his reason? He says Islam is of the devil.

In an interview with Rick Sanchez on CNN, July 29th he said, “We believe Islam is of the Devil. It is causing billions of people to go to hell. It is a deceptive religion. It is a violent religion. That is proven many many times.”

This pastor may feel how he wants to feel, as may anyone. However by setting this date to hold a burning of a Holy Book to the Islam religion, there are many consequences coming out of this from this one person’s choice.

Monday in Afghanistan, a protest was held in the capital. We have tens of thousands of troops fighting there and they aren’t fighting the Afghanistan people. They are helping them by fighting against their enemies, Al Qaeda.

Monday though, many of those people at the protest were getting mixed messages due to this news of what was going on at this church in the U.S. wanting to burn their Holy Book and saying their religion is of the devil? Maybe they should just give up on the American people. Why trust them?

This pastor is talking about burning another religion’s Holy Book while he lives in a country that is based on FREEDOM OF RELIGION. Does he choose what religions are free? Does he choose WHO has those freedoms?

This pastor believes he is a “patriot” but the highest ranking military officials are watching the reactions from overseas and saying it’s not good for America. Is that not enough of an alert? He’s not being a patriot. He is stirring up a conflict both here and abroad. He is doing this by choice and with full knowledge of the consequences arising and with numerous warnings from different government agencies, local officials and many around the world.

In a statement from one of the top American Generals in Afghanistan, Lt. Gen. William Caldwell, he said, “We’re over here to defend the rights of the American citizens and we’re not debating the first amendment rights that people have, but what I will tell you is that their very actions will jeopardize the safety of the young men and women who are serving in uniform over here and also undermine the very mission that we’re trying to accomplish. I would hope they would understand that there are second and third order effects that would occur that will affect the young men and women who’s out there on point for America serving their nation today because of their actions in the United States.”

These people serving our country and fighting the war on terror, are pointing out not only is this harmful for our troop’s safety and mission but also goes against the safety for America and many around the world.

Gen. David Petraeus, the U.S. Commander in Afghanistan released a statement to the Wallstreet Journal saying, “It is precisely the kind of action the Taliban uses and could cause significant problems. Not just here but everywhere in the world we are engaged with the Islamic Community.”

The safety of America and American troops has always been the priority but since the attacks on September 11, 2001, the heightened security has been more focused and more attention has been on Al Qaeda, the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden.

For many people the focus has shifted to the Muslim people and more recently causing a great deal of debates over the building of or even the expansions of existing mosque.

Often times, people fear what they don’t understand or what they are told is bad or evil.

This “pastor”, Terry Jones is causing a greater amount of conflict and danger on this nation, our troops who have been risking their lives and he is doing this all for a selfish reason, because he is trying to make a point.

Although he may fully believe everything he is saying and his estimated 50 church followers may believe him as well, is America’s safety or the safety of our troops, Americans abroad or other nations that have also fought the war on terror ready to face this added terror his actions may provoke, most likely will provoke?

Someone willing to put that great of a risk on other people’s lives for their own cause is as much of a terrorist as those he claims to be fighting against.

It doesn’t matter where he is born, what religion he claims to follow or what color his skin is.

He has been told to stop. He has been told of the dangers. He has been told of the risk he is putting America, its people and its troops in and yet he is refusing to stop.

Terry Jones does not care. He has a higher calling.

Does this sound familiar? Does this sound like the behavior words of a terrorist?

Intolerance vs. Terrorism

For years now, immigration has been an issue requiring attention. The U.S. borders as well as international airports have been an access point for drugs and weapons and on September 11, 2001, America was attacked in a way many Americans never expected could happen on U.S. soil.

On that day, 2,996 people died including the 19 terrorist, Al Qaeda hijackers. The majority of deaths were civilians, including nationals from over 90 countries.

Very soon after the attacks, the luggage of one of the terrorist, Mohamed Atta, was found which not only identified all 19 male hijackers but also had detailed plans, motives and backgrounds on the men and the attacks. On September 27, 2001, the photos of these 19 terrorists were released on the news and for the first time, people could put faces to the horrible anger and blame they had been feeling about the innocent lives that had suddenly been taken away on that clear and sunny Tuesday morning in New York City.

Many people still had not located loved ones, did not know if they were missing or dead and at the same time, there was still an unimaginable grief and anger throughout the U.S. for this horrible crime. What could have caused someone to do this? What did anyone in these towers, in the Pentagon, on those planes do to anybody? Why were they suddenly gone? Why did New York City look like a war zone? Why did it feel like a war zone?

The answer to those questions would come from Osama Bin Laden. He provided the leadership and funding for this group. Initially Bin Laden denied his involvement but later admitted involvement via video tape talking to Khaled al-Harbi. The tape was broadcast on several news networks in December 2001. He stated, “Terrorism against America deserves to be praised because it was a response to injustice, aimed at forcing America to stop its support for Israel, which kills our people.”

Right after the attack, the U.S. responded with the War on Terror, a war that is continuing today in its fight to overthrow al Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Here in the U.S. however, right after the attacks, hate crimes began happening against Muslim-Americans, Middle Easterners or other “Middle Eastern-looking” people. There were reports of attacks on Mosque and other religious buildings including a Hindu Temple.

Different people were assaulted and Balbir Singh Sodhi was fatally shot on September 15, 2001 when he was mistaken as a Muslim but was actually Sikh, a follower of Sikhism. Like others, he has been mistaken due to the fact both religions wear head turbans. According to studies done by Ball State University, following the attacks, people perceived to be of Middle Eastern, Arab or Muslim were more likely to be the victims of hate crimes.

Although 19 terrorists hijacked the planes on September 11, 2001 and Osama Bin Laden claimed responsibility for leading and funding the group as well as the knowledge that al Qaeda (a militant Islamist terrorist organization) is the force behind these attacks, many people still focus the attacks on an ethnic group or a religion. What is the reasoning for the lack of tolerance or the outright hate towards Muslims or those practicing Islam? The main reason given is the attacks on 9/11.

Following the attacks on 9/11, a joint statement was released by the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Islamic Medical Association of North America, Islamic Circle of North America, Islamic Society of North America, American Muslim Alliance, Muslim Public Affairs Council and others which stated;

“American Muslims utterly condemn the vicious and cowardly acts of terrorism against innocent civilians. We join with all Americans in calling for the swift apprehension and punishment of the perpetrators. No political cause could ever be assisted by such immoral acts.”

The acts of these 19 terrorists did not represent their religion, their culture or their people as a whole.

April 19, 1995 was a regular Wednesday morning for those working in the Alfred P. Murray Federal Building in Oklahoma City until 9:02 a.m.

Timothy McVeigh, an American Militia movement sympathizer detonated an explosive-filled truck parked in front of the building. His co-conspirator, Terry Nichols had helped in the bomb making process which became the most destructive act of terrorism on American soil until the attacks of 9/11/01. That day, 168 people lost their lives, including 19 children. 680 people were injured.

Who was Timothy McVeigh? Where was he from? Timothy McVeigh was a U.S. Army Veteran. He had left the military in 1992. He’d written the local papers complaining about taxes and the government’s mismanagement. He was motivated by his hate for the federal government. In 1993, he drove to Waco, Texas to show support for those at Waco and distributed pro-gun rights literature. After the Oklahoma attacks, he said he was angered by the way the Waco siege was handled. He arranged his attack to coincide with the second anniversary of the deaths at Waco.

On February 18, 2010 employees at an Austin, Texas IRS office say “it felt like a bomb blew off” and that “the ceiling caved in and windows blew in. We got up and ran.”

Joseph stack, a 53 year old software engineer launched a suicide attack by flying a small plane into the IRS building containing 200 employees. Employees in surrounding offices were suddenly looking at images that appeared to be a repeat of 9/11.

Stack had previous issues with the IRS and left a note. “I have had all I can stand,” he wrote. “I choose not to keep looking over my shoulder at ‘big brother’ while he strips my carcass.”

Just in these three cases, to try to have prevented these acts of terrorism would have meant to have been looking for anyone that was of Middle Eastern decent, Muslim-American, American militia affiliated, anti-government and anyone that had really had it with the IRS?

The fact is in every group, in every race, in every religion, there are those that are bad or extreme and those people don’t represent the entire group.

This country would have never moved forward without that understanding. Wars would never truly have ended. Slavery would have never ended. Civil rights and freedoms would not exist. Equal rights cannot truly be something that the U.S. says it gives unless they are there for everyone.

True equal rights cannot be given by picking and choosing or not be given and then not honored.

The danger doesn’t come to America by those who appear to be different or come from a different culture or background. Danger comes when America fails to recognize humanity for each individual or when Americans are withholding opportunities from a select group that many are just taking for granted.

One religion can’t condemn another religion in a country that is based on “Freedom of Religion”.

There are those using the argument that the Islamic religion is based on extremism and saying that those wanting to build a mosque are doing so to convert others to their belief and lifestyle. There are two points that need to be pointed out here. First, when any church, synagogue or temple is built, it is done so to bring in new followers and also to give their present church goers a new and better place to worship. Second, in most recent news the violence happening is being done toward the Muslims and their proposed Mosque and toward their religion in the U.S., not by them.

There is a planned burning of the Qur’an on 9/11 at the Dove World Outreach Center and whether or not you agree with a person’s belief or not, to burn their religious book is just unacceptable. How would anyone feel if someone was burning Bibles? How would anyone feel if any group was holding a burning of any kind of books?

What if anytime a crime was done by a member of a family, the entire family was held accountable?

What if anytime a catholic priest was caught doing anything questionable, all priest were suddenly seen as suspicious?

What if one employee was caught stealing and suddenly everybody was being searched each day coming to work?

What if one person at a workplace says you made them feel uncomfortable and suddenly you are transferred, cut back on hours or let go of. Not because you did anything but just because someone said something, thought something or judged you.

What if another religion was suddenly the target of intolerance or hate crimes? Mormonism? Catholicism? Christianity? Would people turn their backs on the followers of this religion, join in the fight against the religion, just not do anything and remain silent or stand up for freedom of religion? What is the right thing to do in America? What is really behind the intolerance toward the Muslims, their faith and their desire to build new places to worship?