Thursday, June 17, 2004
I'm listening to the briefing this morning from the 9/11 Commission. Wow, when it's all compressed into a few minutes on a limited timeline, it sounds like so much happened, including alot of mistakes, misinterpretations of data, and false presuppositions. The main thing we probably had wrong was the false security of thinking we had it under control. One of the statements just mad had something to do with which planes had been hijacked, which ones had been lost, which ones were still legitimate non-hijacked flights. One plane circled back and landed safely in Cleveland - I can't imagine being someone who just found out that fighters had been tailing us to make sure we were not a missile, and who would've shot down my flight on orders from his superiors.
No blame or finger-pointing from me. I make my share of mistakes, too, and I think anyone would agree that the events of that day did much to show us that we did not have the proper training, information or systems in place to handle this kind of attack. There's also word that the same things were supposed to have happened over the west coast. I can only imagine how fast this could've gotten much much worse.
All of this took place inside of a window of about an hour and fifty-five minutes. Giving everyone the benefit of the doubt, I think our biggest problem might've been a mistaken idea about the nature of man. There's no way someone would slam a huge passenger jet into a huge business building. There's no way someone would want to kill so many innocent people so violently and so viciously. There's no way they would ever intend to do so much damage so quickly, and there's no way that even if they did, that it would be that bad. But when the first plane hit its target, and then the first tower fell to the ground, all of us collectively discovered that "sin is exceedingly sinful", and that man is capable of the most terrible atrocities, and capable of the most blind mistakes.
In Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, the cover of the guide has these words: "DON'T PANIC". For me, when I recognize that the world and the universe is much bigger, more dangerous and much more off-kilter than previously understood, it's good to grab onto the thought, "DON'T PANIC". As screwed up as much of this is, there's always hope that tomorrow will be better. Just... don't panic.
Can I get that on my bible cover?