Peter Hentges (jbru) wrote,
Peter Hentges


I don't think there is anything I can say about yesterday's tragedy that has not been said by countless others. I'm not one to be emotionally involved in the happenings of events hundreds of miles from me but even I found it difficult to sleep last night. Eventually fatigue took over and I did sleep and am ready for what it is I must do today.

I am struck glancing blows by bits and pieces of the events. Small, specific images or stories that find a hold on my psyche, I know not why.
  • The random, odd gaps of silent air as news media reported events
  • The first images of the second hit on the WTC, fire blossoming out of the middle of the building
  • The later images of the first hit on the WTC; firefighters doing something in the street, a roar of a jet and the clear image of the plane sinking into the building and the plume of flame retreating upon its path
  • The choked voice of a seminary student talking about a prayer service in (I think) Tennessee where a Korean war veteran tearfully prayed that in our nation's response to this tragedy, that we not become like those who perpetrated it and harm innocents in our pursuit of justice and how another asked that those present pray for those that had undertaken this act, that their hearts might be changed
  • The expected cries for retribution and the unexpected, widespread calls for calm
  • The weird scene of a gas station crowded with people at 11:00 pm as I went out to get milk (while the grocery store was empty)
Some have asked of those that say, "Wait! Do not blindly strike out. Violence is not the answer for violence," "What would you have us do?" I thought of this some on my drive to work today. What would be the most powerful statement we could make in response to this attack? At my core, I believe, it would be to do nothing. To aid those hurt, to grieve, to rebuild and to go on as if nothing had happened. If it should happen again, to do the same. To show that the petty, cruel act of a small number of individuals cannot shake a great nation. Such a response, however, would not be acceptable to the majority. I think then, the most realistic response I could tolerate would be to gather evidence about who committed this crime. Place the evidence before the World Court and ask for judgment. If such a judgment shows a guilty party, tender a worldwide warrant for their arrest. Then do as Israel has done for those who have committed war crimes in the past. Hunt them across the globe and, when nations have been unwilling to extradite them for just punishment, send a military force to do just that, nothing more.

If we cannot take the road of leaders like Martin Luther King and Gandhi, let us at least be more restrained that those that have attacked us. Let us show the United States as the leader it can be.

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