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Just a Thought: A Reaction to the Events of September 11th, 2001
by Thomas Schueneman

We live in troubling times… This was brought home to us with a vengeance the morning of September 11th. But it didn’t start with the tragedy of that day. Americans have been shocked out of their complacency and sense of invulnerability. We have always been vulnerable. Still, it is a little disquieting, knowing that there are people out there, perhaps even close-by, that want to kill you…“Kill Americans, wherever they are…”

I was born at the height of the Cold War; around that time the message was, “We will bury you”.

The apocalypse of mutual assured destruction dominated my world as a child. But with the fall of the Soviet Bloc, we lost our archenemy, to which we had been locked in a bitter struggle.

We say we want a better world, one where enemies no longer engage in madness and violence to achieve questionable or ill-defined goals. Where people and governments of the world realize that some sort of co-existence is required for survival…

Sometimes it seems that progress is made. Democracy and freedom, while very imperfect, is established. Slavery is abolished. Ideas and governments based on Hate and Fear are vanquished...

Yet we always seem to be drawn back into the bitter clash of opposing ideas and cultures… Opposites attracted and drawn to each other in some violent, apocalyptic struggle of ideals. Freedom versus oppression… Open versus closed… Enlightened versus dogmatic… Life versus death… The seeds of the struggle lie within each of us. Yet, as victims of horrific acts of violence killing thousands of innocent citizens, we have no choice but to respond. The classic response, the typical response, the “normal” response, is to respond in kind with force and violence. To kill those that would kill us. It’s one of the fundamental instincts in all life – self-preservation. Except that we are a species of self-inflicted wounds.

We are one species… We can’t get around that very basic fact.

Just as it was when I was a child, with an arsenal of Mutual Assured Destruction looming overhead, our success as a species seems in doubt. We have found our ultimate enemy, and we are they… We talk of “getting back to normal”… Why would we want to do a thing like that? Maybe it’s time to wake up… for something different.

We’ll need to stop killing each other first…

Tom lives in San Francisco and works as a sound engineer, freelance writer, and entrepreneur. He enjoys traveling, nature, reading, photography, and music.


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