I was 12 years old on September 11th, 2001. Growing up in the D.C. area I had plenty of friends with parents that worked in the Pentagon — my dad occasionally went to meetings there. I clearly remember the simultaneous panic and somberness of the day. That day was one that helped define my generation, it set a new tone, opened a new chapter.
We thought we knew what it was like to grow up in “terror.” We knew nothing. Today, children of the same age have witnessed more violence in America than we did in that single day, by far. And do so on a weekly, sometimes daily, basis.
Terror has decentralized; shifted from that one big generation defining event, to a daily occurrence. My generation was haunted by the fear of “what if,“ while today’s children are haunted by a fear of “when.”
Haunted not only by the actual terrifying events, but also by their continued simulation in the form of “safety drills.“
The American government took decisive (albeit misplaced, in my opinion) and near immediate action in the wake of September 11th. Meanwhile, the American government remains complicit in the face of decentralized terror…
When a bogeybeast, or far-flung monster can’t be pointed to, what then? When no crusade can be called, what then?
But we have a bogeyman. A bogeyman potentially more easily routed than insurgents or foreign agents.
Don’t get me wrong — shifting American gun culture is a monumental task, but I believe it to be well worth the effort.
What is the point of my writing this?
Mostly catharsis. Mostly fear.
I am terrified to send my son to school. For him to become another of the nearly innumerable casualties of this terror.
What can I do in the face of this terror?
Well, for one, vote.
I hope this most recent tragedy in Florida is different. I hope it catalyzes more than thoughts and prayers.
I’m hoping to do more than hope. What can I do?
I’m hoping to do more than hope. But what can I do?