I have a few sci fi related posts and some writing posts half written, and so much gets said about the 9/11 attacks on every anniversary that I wasn’t sure I wanted to add to the pile on. But so much of what is said is used to justify discrimination, oppression, and bigotry, so I shouldn’t be silent when I could counter some of that. We, as a nation, learned the wrong lessons from 9/11. The terrorists won—because we have given up many freedoms for an illusion of security. The massive waste of time and money that is the modern airport screening process doesn’t guarantee that there will be no more attacks; at best those measures reduce the probability of certain types of attacks by an infinitesimal fraction of a percent. We used the attacks as a pretext to invade a country that had nothing to do with them (Iraq), in the process kicking off a sequence of events which made it super easy for radical terrorist groups to recruit thousands of people who would otherwise have been peacefully living their lives. We have been bogged down in Afghanistan, a country the previously bogged down the British for decades in unwinnable war, and then the Russians for more decades in an equally unwinnable war, and now, 17-fucking-years later we are similarly bogged down with no achievable objectives and an eternally-changed timeline for getting out.
We’ve spent trillions of dollars (let alone the thousands of military personnel killed or maimed in the process) an accomplished nothing more than radicalizing who knows how many people who would otherwise might have been allies.
Meanwhile, we have ignored and inadequately responded to other disasters closer to home: Hurricane Maria Killed More People Than Katrina and 9/11 Combined: Harvard Study “4,645 people probably died after Hurricane Maria struck the island last September.” We continue to act as if 9/11 was the worst disaster ever to hit this country, while we ignore the pain and suffering of the American citizens in Puerto Rico. We should be ashamed.
If we are going to talk about 9/11, we should talk about some of the heroes: Remembering 9/11 Hero Mark Bingham Mark Bingham, a 6’4″ tall gay man who had the nickname “Bear Trap” was one of the passengers of United Flight 93 who stormed the cockpit of their pilot, preventing the hijackers from crashing the plane into the intended fourth target that day. Mark and the other passengers died as the plane crashed into a field, instead.
Read about the other, often erased, queer heroes here: The Stories of 9/11’s LGBTQ Heroes.