Thursday, June 16, 2016

9/11 and the Orlando Shootings

I was 14 when the terrorist attacks on September 11th happened. When I was 19 I wrote an essay for an English class about where I was and how I felt when I first heard about 9/11.

I was honest in my essay.

I wrote that at first I didn't understand the impact of 9/11. People die in tragic events all the time. 30,000 people died in car accidents in 2001, 3,000 people died in 9/11. What's the big deal? If I had ended the essay there I don't know my English teacher would have thought. But I interluded it into my listening to people talk about the event, and after that my young mind began to comprehend the importance of 9/11.

I realize now that I was right the first time. There wasn't something I didn't grasp about 9/11, I knew the damages, I knew the death total, I knew the suffering. Nobody enlightened me on the costs. What they did was show me how important it was that I treat 9/11 like the costs were enormous. I didn't pretend to get it, I really got it, but what I got was self-delusion. I didn't grow in understanding, I had my understanding stripped away from me by social pressure. I regret that.

That's how I feel when I hear people talk about the 50 people who died recently in the Orlando shooting. I can't join in that conversation. And when people talk to me I have to dodge. I can't express my opinion. When people express that this shooting only justifies their policy views, I want to say that the death of 50 people shouldn't implicate anything about national policy. It's just too unimportant. My approach would improve the world a lot, but it's viewed not even as a different opinion, but an evil opinion. To burst people's moralizing bubble looks like evil.