As bad as it was

Wednesday, 11 September 2002

I don’t know if you’re gonna be crying today, or fuming, or thinking what’s the big deal, or looking cross-eyed at that Sikh b/c you’re stupid and think he’s Islamic or maybe you just miss Indira Gandhi. I don’t know. I don’t know what I’ll be doing either. I do know a few things though.

The monetary estimates of the damage in NYC last September come in at about seven billion dollars, or much higher depending on who you believe. I think the low end is more likely. It’s still a pile of money that would make a nice mulch for the entire state of California. It’s $7,000,000,000 dollars in Arabic numerals. It looks much bigger that way, don’t you think?

As of this writing, 2,801 persons are certified dead plus another few hundred at the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania. More than 3,000 for the final body count but not much more.

Pretty bad. We watched human beings jumping out of windows 90 stories in the sky rather than burn to death or feel the floors go out from under them for a gut-sickening zero-gravity nightmare fall when the towers collapsed. Any of us that aren’t contemptible cried. We did foolish things like insisting on donating blood when the blood banks were already full. We all stopped hating New York and realized we had only been jealous all along. We were most all very, very nice to each other for a long time.

On September 11th last year, 1,205 persons died from smoking. Another 300 or so from drinking. Another 128 in car wrecks and another 50 or so in gun deaths. It only adds up to about 1,500 but on September 12th, it happened again. On September 13th, it repeated. On September 14th, another 1,500 people died. By the end of the year 150,000 or so gone. By the end of this year another half million more.

Enron and WorldCom were caught doing bad things this year. They were bad things to the tune of many, many billions of dollars. At least $10,000,000,000 and maybe more than $15,000,000,000. There were a few deaths involved; suicide here and there from lost pensions and careers.

The deaths and costs from the wars of the last 100 years pale the day. If you’re under 40 you probably don’t know much about WWII. If you’re under 80 you don’t know much about WWI. There were more before. There were some between. More are coming.

I’m not sure how to say what I mean. September 11th, 2001 was bad. I don’t mean to lessen the deaths or the loss. I can’t. In the end though, all that happened was a lot of property damage which was much smaller than what our corporate leaders have done to us lately, and loss of life that is not as great as what we do to ourselves every other day all year, every year.

It was bad and worth crying over and worth killing over and worth most of the rest. As bad as it was, it was only a drop in the bucket against the strength and longevity of this nation.

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