KEN GALE'S PAGES

This section of the 'Nuff Said! web site will include articles, essays and
opinion pieces by me that have little or nothing to do with comics.
Comics-oriented articles will be in the articles section.


Some of My Thoughts and Experiences
on the 9-11 World Trade Center Disaster

No fancy lay-out, just words.
This was written over the three days immediately following September 11, 2001.
Much more about that day is known now than was known at the time I wrote all this, but I'm not changing anything. As such, this is a sort of a time capsule


September 11. Around 9 AM the phone rang. It was my friend Erich (the one who's been teaching me html programming) telling me to turn on WBAI news. A plane hit one of the Trade Center towers then a half hour later another plane hit the other one. My immediate comment: "It sounds like it was on purpose."

We hung up the phone and I turned the radio on. This was before the two towers collapsed, disappearing, surely forever, from the southern New York City skyline. There were eyewitness accounts, all talking about how horrible or scary or unbelievable it was. We live about seven miles north/northeast and could see the smoke from our living room window. A LOT of smoke.

But WBAI wasn't really giving much information (it feels funny to write that because normally, WBAI gives information that other radio stations do not, but most of the best reporters for that sort of story had been banned or fired), so I went up the dial and the very next station was simulcasting CNN. I learned that the planes had been hijacked from Logan Airport in Boston. Later, I learned another plane hit the Pentagon and another crashed south of Pittsburgh, but they didn't know if the Pennsylvania crash was related. It turned out it was.

Needless to say, I had the radio on all day. One FM station had the CNN broadcast, all the commercial stations suspended their commercials and I flipped around every time they started to repeat something I already knew.

I called a friend I was supposed to be getting together with to let her know why we'd be postponing our lunch. We have call-waiting and while I was talking to her, friends and relatives called from all over the country. I checked e-mail and there were quite a few messages. I tried to answer them all at once, but had trouble getting the computer to make a list; it duplicated some addresses and deleted others without my help. Some things never change. It would have been easier with the old computer. I checked e-mail all day and there was a steady stream of messages. It reminded me of the e-mails we send when we hear of west coast earthquakes.

All day long, we could see the smoke from our living room window. So far, no one that I know personally was there, but I suspect I'll hear of someone. Thousands of people worked there. The complex had two zip codes to itself. More people worked there than lived in the town I grew up in.

I went to give blood and the line was HOURS long and that's the case at hospitals and blood centers throughout the city. The nearest blood bank is 67th St. between 1st and 2nd Ave. (The last time I was there was to give blood to get tickets to a John Entwistle concert.) One line stretched to First Ave. Another stretched to 2nd. A third went to 2nd Ave and all the way to 66th St. I decided to go the next day instead. They said they'll need extra blood for many days, especially O+ and O- (I'm A+).

The sidewalks were packed with people, most of them walking north. The streets, however, look like dawn on a Sunday morning. Hardly any vehicles. No cabs. Restaurants were doing a booming business; some had signs up about giving blood. The libraries were closed. The nearest branch had a hand-written sign: "Closed due to the emergency. Staff who can't get home may stay here."

It was amazing.

It was a Tuesday. We decided to go to the station to do a show. Not the one planned (Comics of the 1980s) and not even one on comics. We were willing to walk all the way there. About seven miles. We've walked that far up and down mountains while birding. The station is a little south of the World Trade Center, but on the opposite side of Manhattan Island. Mass transit would take us as far as 14th St. Then we had about three more miles to go. About an hour walk. I was hoping to get there at around 7:30, right before "Off the Hook" in case they didn't have a full crew. I was hoping we'd talk about things before the show then continue the conversation on the air.

The bus took us all the way to Houston St., another 14 blocks, nearly ¾ of a mile. Then we walked down Orchard St. Again, hardly any vehicles (I believe they were banned below 14th St.), but quite a few pedestrians, mostly walking south here.

We could see the smoke from the Trade Center fire. At first, it was yellowish, but a few minutes later it was reddish. Who knows what was burning? Our route took us past the corners of Canal and Division St. then Canal and East Broadway. Normally, you can see the twin towers from there, once the two tallest buildings in the world, but all we saw was the plume of smoke. We stopped and stared. From both corners.

Almost every pedestrian stopped and stared. From both corners.

We kept going, eventually walking along South St. which borders the East River with the FDR Drive in between. By then, the air was thick, black, sooty, acrid. At minimum, there was asbestos in the air. A low cloud of dark black smoke covered Brooklyn. The Brooklyn Bridge was nearly obscured, even when standing right next to it.

Mercy had a couple of dust masks with her. You know, those filters that cover the nose and mouth. She normally uses them when she does air brush. They helped quite a bit, but they couldn't help our eyes. The air stung. The ground had a layer of white ash on it that moved when the wind blew, like a new snowfall. And we realized we were walking on what was left of the twin towers of the World Trade Center. We were conscious of the fact that we were breathing the people who were cremated in that all-day fire! That's what happened in Germany and Poland in the 1940s. There isn't a more sobering thought a person can have. Is there?

We reached Wall St. WBAI is at 120 Wall St., on the corner of South St. The doors were locked. The security guard saw us before we rang the bell and started shaking his head vigorously. It turned out that the explosion at #7 World Trade Center (the landmark towers are #1 & #2), which happened just about the time we left for the station, knocked out the power. A Con Edison vault of equipment was underneath #7. All of Wall St. had power except for 110 and 120. The entire building, every floor, was dark. He had made an emergency call so the eye bank on the 3rd floor could pick up their corneas before the dry ice evaporated.

No one was allowed in the building. There was no sprinkler system, no electricity, nothing.

We'd made the trip for nothing.

No, not really. It was an experience I'm sort of glad we had. I'm glad I got to see all that. I'm glad I can give all of you an eyewitness account. I wish I didn't have the opportunity.

There was a young man hanging out on the corner. He asked me if I was there for BAI. He was there for "Off the Hook." I told him what the security guard told me then his cell phone rang. It was Emmanuel Goldstein, host of "Off the Hook." I talked to him as he walked through Chinatown on the way down then waited for him to show up. He called someone else to have them check whether we were on the air or not. We weren't.

As we were waiting for Emmanuel to show up, a group of about a dozen firefighters walked by, going south (there's a Firehouse near-by). They all looked exhausted. Really exhausted, their backs bent, looking down at the ground just in front of where they were walking. I yelled "Good work!" to them and most of them somehow found the energy to wave back or give us a thumbs up sign.

We hung out a little when Emmanuel and Mike got there, called Bill Weinberg who would have been on an hour after 'Nuff Said!, then walked north. The whole area between Wall St. and the Brooklyn Bridge was in darkness. No street or building lights, but no looting, either. Eventually, we met Bill and Joanne then dined at a Chinese restaurant in the East Village. It had a television on, tuned to a news station. Most places that were open did.

Although the bus taking us south went all the way to Houston St., there was no such northbound bus there. We ended up walking to 14th St and saw a sign telling to walk to 23rd St. We passed someone waiting at a bus stop between and told him about it. It was late and there were fewer pedestrians. The people waiting at the bus stop at 23rd had been there a while. We decided to walk.

As we passed Cabrini Hospital, we met Mahmoud, a former WBAI producer/engineer (former not because he was banned or fired, by the way, he left before The Coup) who also happens to be the person who officiated the first Muslim funeral I ever went to, for Chet Jackson of WBAI. He had been working a double-shift there and was about to go home.

"You must have been busy," I said. No, he answered. He was afraid that was because there weren't many wounded, they were all dead. Another sobering thought to accompany us as we continued walking north.

A bus finally caught up to us at 38th St. We got home after 1 AM.

We saw a hook and ladder truck from Hartford, Ct, which is three hours from New York City. We spoke to one of the firefighters who told us over 300 firefighters were missing. She was supposed to spend the night in Queens then go back to the Trade Center. She told us it took six days just for them to get organized after the Oklahoma City bombing and this was much bigger. Mercy had baked cookies that day (yes, she bakes, too. And she's good at it, too) to share with the folks at WBAI. We walked to the fire house and she gave a container of them to the firefighters. I'd never seen so many firefighters in there before.

Sept. 12.

Early the next morning, the phone rang. It was Mercy's boss from the place where she frequently freelances, making "comps." Many of their people live in New Jersey and couldn't get to work, so he wanted her to replace them. "'tis an ill wind that blows no good." Though there was some work, it was a short day. She was home early. We continued to get phone calls and e-mails from concerned friends, including quite a few who had tried to call us the day before and couldn't get through. Mercy walked around NY and it was like Sunday morning - you could cross the street anytime as there was no traffic, few cabs, all out of service. Just buses on the street and a few people walking.

Again, I listened to newsradio all day. Couldn't bear to turn away from it. Still nothing on WBAI. Still no commercials and they kept adding details all day. None of the usual repetition the 24-hour news station usually gives you (how do they have such good ratings when they repeat their broadcast all day?). I didn't go to the blood bank because they were requesting that only people with O+ or O- blood donate. They were actually running out of blood bags, so great had been the response (and, I suppose, so few had been the people who needed it).

I found it difficult to sustain a long bout of writing these reminiscences. I took a lot of breaks. The scope of the tragedy was just beginning to sink in. But things were also just beginning to get back to normal. Mercy getting a freelance gig. Cabs and other traffic back on the street. Musicradio playing music.

We could no longer always see the smoke from our fifth floor apartment, but we could see it from Third Ave. all day long. There were dozens of bouquets and wreaths of flowers in front of the fire house. And the graffiti war has begun. People advocating violence, people advocating thought. People criticizing other graffiti writers. Hand-made signs giving the address of the blood bank. Photos of missing people " last seen on the 89th floor of the World Trade Tower."

New Yorkers are coming through where it counts. When they announce that blood is needed, they get more blood than they can even store. When they say they need food, they get more than they need. When they say they need socks and t-shirts, they soon follow with another announcement not to bring any more. If they said they needed four elephants, you can bet they'd get at least ten. I admit to being very cynical about people and politics, but not this week! Remember this the next time you hear someone talk about "cold impersonal New Yorkers."

And the stories are filtering in. One friend who works in the World Trade Center had taken the day off because it was his birthday. Another friend was in the subway at the time. The whole train was evacuated and she soon found herself running north within a crowd of people. One of the people running next to her was wearing a suit with the sleeves all torn. She could see blood on his arms.

Mercy's Italian brother-in-law was threatened for being Arab. He's a dark-complexioned Italian.

The most dramatic story I've heard so far: a co-worker of Mercy's told us her sister's fiancé's sister had a business meeting that morning so she was not in the World Trade Center at that fateful moment. Two of her co-workers were supposed to be with her and she told them they were more needed in the office than at the meeting and to stay there. Both of them are missing. She blames herself for their death. She'll have to live with that for the rest of her life!

The best story comes from Shawn and Kim, who run the wonderful 22 Below folk music coffee house on Saturday Nights. Kim worked in the second tower. Her boss noticed the second plane veer to head right for the tower and announced "Everybody OUT!" And everyone got out and were taken by boat to New Jersey. Their boss saved their lives by looking out the window and taking quick decisive action.


My thoughts on the politics of the situation:

Moderation.

If the moderates were in control in the mid-east, the extremists would have less political power. If people of opposing factions listened to moderates from the other side, the extremists couldn't say, "The moderate way doesn't work. Let's try my way." Or certainly less people would listen to them because their methods wouldn't be needed. When people feel that only extreme measures work, those are the measures they take.

If there were a Palestinian State, the moderates would be more in control. Why kill yourself and thousands of innocent people if your political views are being listened to anyway? Many fewer people would do that. There would still be fanatics, but less people helping them. Or to use an analogy from an issue I've been part of. If they close the nuclear plant, or at least listen, really pay attention; to those who want it closed, citizens don't have to do civil disobedience to close it themselves. When it's simply us against them instead of conversation and compromise, extreme reactions become more common.

If this turns out to be Arab or Islamic, which seems to be the case, I hope they publish statistics of the number of Muslims killed at the World Trade Center. This is a nation of immigrants. Every Jew, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, etc. in the U.S. is either an immigrant or a convert or a descendent of one.

I hear on talkradio or read graffiti that people want to strike back. Now. At someone. Anyone. Especially Bin-Ladn. Gawd, how I wish the testosterone would be replaced with thought! Would striking back really keep another terrorist attack from happening? Or would it start a Hatfields-and-McCoys-like feud played with nations instead of families? Back and forth tragedy upon tragedy. At what point would a desperate loser use a nuclear bomb? Or even a biological one? (And to the reporter who said, "Looks like a neutron bomb hit here." Neutron bombs don't destroy buildings, only people. There's a reason they're called "the landlord bomb.")

I've read an immense amount of historical analysis that World War II was a continuation of World War I. That if the allies, after beating Germany, hadn't decided to punish them (as if losing wasn't punishment, or enough punishment), an extremist like Hitler would not have been able to come to power. Indeed, similar "punishment" was NOT done after WW II and the neo-Nazis there are still a small minority in modern Germany 50-some years later. They exist, but extremism doesn't have political clout in the present climate as it did in the climate after WW I.

Moderation worked.

India did not get its independence through bombs and violent struggle.

I feel the same policy would work in the mid-east. Certainly the extremism policy in Asia is having similar results to the post-WW I extremism policy in Europe. Many experts say the moderates in the Mid-East are "out of the loop" because they are being ignored. Extremism, by its very nature, cannot be ignored.

But it never has the result expected.

The men (and women?) who planned and destroyed the World Trade Center didn't seem to think about what would happen next, should they succeed. There wasn't a moderate thought in their heads. I wonder if they even knew what they really wanted. Talk about testosterone replacing brains!

There's a baseball truism about waking sleeping giants. If an inferior team is beating the slumping World Series winner, don't throw a pitch that hits their best batter. It just makes the whole team mad. It wakes them up. If they're sleeping, let them sleep. You'll win the game.

Nations can be like baseball teams. So the terrorists woke a sleeping giant. I hope the U.S. response can be moderate. I hope it can be closer to the end of WW II than to WW I. I really don't want to see World War III. The necessary alliances are already in place for such a fiasco.

That cynicism I mentioned earlier makes me think that kneejerk reactions will win out, that testosterone will win out over brains, that a war has begun that will create more terrorist actions. I don't see much moderation from most U.S. politicians. They want to be noticed, too. Other political figures are more interested in finding blame rather than solutions, such as Jerry Falwell blaming everyone he doesn't like for this. (Or as my friend Liam Cassidy said: "Falwell and Robertson - leaders of America's own Taliban").

Falwell should shut up and try to help the victims. Khaddafy gave blood. What did Falwell do besides yak? I also hear that some "mid-western Congressmen" are trying to stop disaster relief money. Funny, northeastern Congressmen didn't try to stop flood disaster relief. Hatred of New York goes deeper than love for others, I guess. To be fair, I should also add that they ultiimately passed that aid nearly unanimously.

It's the end of the world as we know it. The terrorists got one major victory, although it may not be the victory they wanted nor may they even realize it's a victory because it requires thoughts foreign to them. The United States is less a land of the free than it used to be. The power and freedom taken from the average American will probably never be given back.

Those are some of my experiences and thoughts in the days immediately following the disaster. I'm interested in your responses.

--Ken Gale, New York City, Sept 11-14, 2001


Some Responses

This is what one friend wrote: "How are you and your friends and family, at this awful time? So much for missile defense when the fuckin' CIA cannot even get a handle on this shit. Sorry for the vulgarities but the situation appears to call for it."


I keep thinking of a Pete Townshend song:

This was e-mailed to me by our friend Marcy Gordon:

These are the wisest words I could find, which seem especially worth remembering in this horrible time:

Here are some responses the above article/essay garnered when my friend Kevin (from New Jersey) forwarded it to his e-mail pals. I’m reprinting them pretty much as Kevin forwarded them, in the same order and with the “dialectical” English preserved.

From Belfast, Northern Ireland:

Thanks for that forward from your friend...I took the time to read it all....very moving.
          I would love to have helped there...I am a trained counceller in Trauma...bomb explosions and murders have been so comman over here for the last 30 years that I have a great understanding with the victims and relatives...I have a friend who lives in Washington, and he has first hand knowledge of my skills, and told me this morning that I maybe would have been of some help there, but I am sure your country has plenty of people willing to help out.
          I have come across a pic taken of me last December at the Statue of Liberty and the Twin Towers are in the background behind me...My friend and I had gone for 1 week to NY to shop for Christmas. We had a great time while there.
          I fear for the future of a lot of us all over the world over the next few weeks...Retaliation will probably occur, and unfortunately many more innocents will die...the world is a cruel place...lol

From Chattanooga, Tennessee:

I can’t begin to imagine what it is like to live so close to the World Trade Center. I didn’t think I knew anyone that lived that close except for you until a couple days ago. I used to write a guy that worked at Tower Records in NYC and I hadn’t heard from him in a long time (which is why I kinda forgot about him). I was talking to a good friend and she mentioned not knowing anyone that lived there and that made me remember about my friend Michael. Well I couldn’t call him cuz I had to have long distance taken off cuz it was too expensive. Well, my friend offered to call him at work and...She emailed me the next day and let me know he was ok and I just finished writing him a letter so I was really relieved :).
          I appreciated the story from your friend Ken. It kinda made it feel like we maybe had experienced it more first hand.

From London, England

Hi, thanks for the E-mail from your friend. I couldn’t get out of my mind some of the things he saw and experienced. It had a profound effect. I went to Gym and found myself discussing it with the others. Support and hope seem to be everywhere in the UK now. Every day more stories come out from friends and relatives in connection with the WTC disaster, some of them really pull at the Heart.

From Stuttgart, Germany

In fact, I was impressed by what your friend Ken wrote. I haven't found many Americans to sort of understand the difference between WWI and II and come to a conclusion for further crisis. Once you make someone loose their face, they will most likely try to pay it back somehow. Narcism offence can't be forgiven - but that’s sort of off the topic.
          My friend Silvia left for Cuba on Thursday and I just couldn't believe it! She was ill last week and her doctor would have given her a letter for the insurance saying she is too ill to travel but she decided to take antibiotics and stuff with her and go anyway. Or better fly - I don't consider flying the dangerous part of it, but can you imagine to spend two weeks on the beach while terror is everywhere? I don't know what they were thinking, for everybody told them to stay home. I do believe one has to try to lead a more or less normal life but I don't know if that means staying near Fidel Castro...oh well. I was teasing her about having to swim back.

From Glasgow, Scotland:

Didn't think I'd read this for a few days, but had a read at this stuff from your pal. I'm sure he will never forget what he saw last Tuesday.
          I think extremism has to be met with extremism before it escalates. I don't want it to turn intro a war but I feel America must act. Although maybe now America will realise what a stupid fucking idea it is to give funds to the IRA. It was OK for them to give them money and leave us to deal with the casualties. It says a lot for the UK that we are standing by the US.
          I wish Bush/Powell etc. would shut up about the retaliation. You know 'America will survive'...'You have roused a mighty giant' and all this fighting talk. Hello? People have died. THAT is the important issue of the day. Yes, something needs to be done. But Bush's speech at the memorial service (was it last Friday?) which was along those lines was HIGHLY inappropriate. The guy has little common sense or sensitivity.
          Feel free to pass on to your pals. I'm sure it won't be popular though. Just leave my address off.

Another from Stuttgart, Germany

Thanks for the mail of your friend Ken which lets us a bit participate in something we cannot imagine because it´s so far away. I liked his thoughts about moderation.
          I have been in Milan, Italy last week on a meeting with Italian, French and Spanish people. There is no other topic to talk about, in the lunch break the internet is asked for the latest news, nobody all over Europe seems to find adequate words. Taking off with the airplane was somewhat strange thinking that just one week ago four other ´normal´ airplanes took off...I am expecting my parents back from a holiday in Sweden tonight and think they will tell me about the reaction there.
          I am always thinking about when I had been to NYC in ´95. Of course, we had been on the WTC. I remember the escalator to the upper platform was wider than the one back down because we had problems with the wheelchair of my friend to come down again. We managed only by taking off the wheels. Once upon a time.

From Hamburg, Germany

thanks a lot for your letter and the one of your friend. Seems it will last a very long time until people come back to their daily affairs and their daily small talk. Life seems so unreal, as you said in your very first sentence of your letter. The reports of people who have been witnessing the horror sometimes sound as if they have read the story in a book and quote it now. It sounds as if they were standing next to themselves, unable to bear the fact they were involved in this terrible incident. Some seem to behave like remote controlled. Others sit down and begin to think about all now and have the strong desire to tell others about their thoughts. There are strong thoughts and very sophisticated thoughts, sometimes the thinkers seem to be astonished they have such thoughts.
          The letter of your friend Ken was moving and impressing me very much. I don't know what this is like in the USA, but in Germany you seldom hear men talking and writing about their feelings. And if, you seldom hear more than a very brief statement. I just quote some of the sentences your friend wrote and comment on them:
          “We were conscious of the fact that we were breathing the people who were cremated in that all-day fire! That's what happened in Germany and Poland in the 1940s. There isn't a more sobering thought a person can have. Is there?”
          I did not think about it, before I read this lines. But then I immediately felt sick. It's a very terrible thought. And there is once again the comparison between the terroristic attacks and the things which happened during the Nazi time in Germany. I read several articles in newspapers, where such comparisons were made and I read several e-mails, where people had the same or at least similar thoughts. Inexplicably I never heard about this comparison here in Germany. No one dares to speak it out, it's too embarrassing, I don't know. But the similarity is obvious.
          “Mercy had baked cookies that day (yes, she bakes, too. And she's good at it, too) to share with the folks at WBAI. We walked to the fire house and she gave a container of them to the firefighters.”
          The whole report of the tragedy is "embroidered" with little side-tracked stories or mentions. It seems to be unbearable to stick to the point all the time. Our brain seems to protect us while remembering us to little more or less funny stories during such a terrible experience. Yes and this was the point, where my memory brought up such a side-tracked story. Nine years ago the house across the street was burning. While the firemen were fighting the fire, I hosted the neighbours, who owned the burning house and were making coffee and sandwiches for the firemen and everyone who was helping. From time to time I brought a tray with sandwiches and coffee across the street, which was a very difficult thing. It was in the midst of winter and very cold. The water of the firehoses was freezing on the road and it was very icy and dangerous to walk there. Yes, sometimes those little unimportant stories come just into our minds, trying to help us to forget the tragedy for a while.
          “If they said they needed four elephants, you can bet they'd get at least ten. I admit to being very cynical about people and politics, but not this week! Remember this the next time you hear someone talk about ‘cold impersonal New Yorkers.’”
          That's something I ask myself very often. What would people do in Germany in such a situation? (I must confess, I pray I will never be in such a situation). Here normally nobody cares about the neighbour who is living next door. It might be a bit better in such a small village I am living in, but even here things are getting worse. Within the last two years there moved three new families into the houses next to us. I don't even know their names! I sometimes see their cars in front of the house or can see light burning inside, but in two cases I cannot even say, what the neighbours look like. They hide themselves in their houses. And I really have my doubts if people would help eachother and give donations as they do it in New York these days. I just remember the little Russian girl, who lives in the neighbour town with her aunt. The little girl is ill of blood cancer and needs very urgently medical help. The girl came here as a guest and so she has no health insurance. The aunt is not wealthy too and so our church gave some money for the medical treatment and made an appeal for funds. It's so sad to see how few people even think about giving a very little donation. The medical treatment has begun, but now the hospital wants to see more money and there is almost no one who gives a bit. I really ask myself if people who were living some hundred miles away from a catastrophe would feel responsible to help.
          “If the moderates were in control in the mid-east, the extremists would have less political power.’
          Yes, that's exactly what I think too. People want to be heard, they want to be taken serious. If the moderates in the Islamic countries were just a bit more accepted by the rest of the world the extremists would have less followers.
          “Gawd, how I wish the testosterone would be replaced with thought!”
          I must confess, this is clearly my favourite statement. I could have laughed about it, if the topic wasn't such a serious one. But I must confess, I don't believe it truly, women would behave much better.
          “I've read an immense amount of historical analysis that World War II was a continuation of World War I. That if the allies, after beating Germany, hadn't decided to punish them (as if losing wasn't punishment, or enough punishment), an extremist like Hitler would not have been able to come to power. Indeed, similar "punishment" was NOT done after WW II and the neo-Nazis there are still a small minority in modern Germany 50-some years later. They exist, but extremism doesn't have political clout in the present climate as it did in the climate after WW I. Moderation worked.”
          There is that comparison again. And I hope he is right with that what he told about the few neo-Nazis. I really pray they are only few. But they are still too many. Their terrorism in Germany is of course nothing compared to that in New York, but tell this to someone, whose husband, friend or brother was murdered by a neo-Nazi, because he was a foreigner. I fear they get more supporters now. There was yesterday an election in Hamburg, nothing really important, only the election for the town parliament. A new party with rather radical opinions made 20% now. The leader of the party is a very strange guy and none of the established parties took him seriously. But he took the chance now and promised people to "clean" Hamburg from dangerous foreign terrorists (or at least from those who look like terrorists) and people were silly enough to see in this promise a good political conception. They will never learn. A vague fear of war or other terrible incidents and they chose everyone who comes along telling them mad stories.
          “United States is less a land of the free than it used to be. The power and freedom taken from the average American will probably never be given back.”
          That's something we have to expect here too. Politicians are demanding for more security controls everywhere, where they see a need for them. The secret services should be given more rights. And foreigners should be controlled more strictly. That's what the moderate politicians are demanding. If you hear others and believe them, we will have implantations of controlling chips very soon. George Orwell's "1984" will arrive a bit later, but "Big Brother" will be watching us then. Do we really want to live like that? If the changes in our societies will be that immense, the terrorists have already won.
          It's not too encouraging to watch the news on TV these days. As if the attacks haven't been terrible enough, the consequences are not much better. So many people are afraid of war now. Prices are rising everywhere. The stock market is nearly broken down and big enterprises dismiss their employees (in some cases I'm not quite sure if the attacks haven't been a "nice" opportunity to dismiss them). The whole economy is weakened. The attacks destroyed much more than only the WTC and a part of the Pentagon.

From Mike Flynn in Seattle, Washington

I'm just glad I live here now...every time I think of this happening, I remember that my wife worked for a time at 5 WTC, then had shorter gigs at each of the towers. Were we still in NY, she could easily have been in one of them.


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