Like most of the people on this list ( I hope ), I have been watching the
exchanges going on in this list with growing disappointment and
exasperation. What started out as an active debate degenerated quickly
into what I can only describe as childishness, and what seems in some cases
to be genuine dislike, and certainly overt lack of respect. I've noticed
many of the more "well known" names around here have stayed very silent on
this debate, and looking back I wish I'd emulated them from the start myself.
Speaking of myself, I certainly feel a share of the blame. While I've not
sunk to calling people "fool" or "idiot", I've used my share of sarcasm in
this "debate", and I feel, given my misreading of some aspects of the
feeling around here, that it has not shown this list in a good light, and
for that I am very sorry. Given that I can generally judge the mood of
people around me, I really should have known better.
But shouldn't we all have known better? I think so. But it's clear to me
why many didn't react as though they did.
They're hurting. Bigtime. Still. Probably forevermore Given what
they've been through, what they've seen, that's not surprising, and they're
entitled to it for sure.
The only real difference here has been how people dealt with it. Some got
angry, very, very angry, and "lashed out" at others. Sabres and references
were rattled. Some seemed to despair. Many remained silent, what could be
said? And others, myself included, tried clumsily to inject a little of
our own experience into the mix, with "mixed" results.
The same pain, many different ways of coping with it. Even if we claim to
being Pre, Trans, Post, or Superhuman, we all still got a little of the
monkey boy (or girl) in there waiting to bust out, and I think in some ways
the zookeeper left the cage door open just a little :)
Now, it seems to me that Samantha in particular got set upon in the midst
of all this. I hope she didn't take it personally. I think she spoke well
and made relevant points, even in the face of uncharacteristically hostile
and unextropian comments, some even addressing her personally.
No doubt some will tell me this is the nature of the list, to get over it,
or not to be such a sissy. That if I can't take it, then get the hell
out. However, there have been comments about people here, made by people
here, that go beyond mere debate. That go beyond the spirit of this
list. The sorts of namecalling even the most amateur debating societies
wouldn't make. Remarks I just wouldn't make to friends. Behaviour that
saddens me far more than it annoys me. Said in grief and pain true, but
I know that we can and will do better, that we'll leave these events in the
past, and take with us the pain, and hopefully some of the lessons, for as
long as we all exist.
On the Saturday following the tragedy, the day following our national day
of mourning, my wife and I went to the U.S. Embassy here in Dublin, 4 days
after the world went nuts. After 4 days worth of human wall had surrounded
the building, leaving flowers, cards, or just staring into the compound. 4
days after a group of distraught Americans had spontaneously, in despair as
much as defiance, burst into the Star Spangled Banner at its' gates. And
we sang too. And let me tell you, we don't even know the words of our
_own_ anthem, even in English. But we know yours. We knew it that day.
We signed the book of condolence. What else could we do? In it, I wrote;
Respect, Remembrance, Restraint.
I will try practice these 3 things in the name of the victims whose final
moments I just can't bring myself to imagine, because it scares and hurts
the hell out of me.
I will try practice these things in the memory of over 6000 people I never
knew, and never will.
Couldn't this list do with a little of all three, here among friends?
>Date: Sat, 20 Oct 2001 13:33:49 -0400
>From: "John Clark" <email@example.com>
>Subject: Re: TERRORISM: the grim prospects
>Like everybody else Robert J. Bradbury has read some of the charming
>quotes of Mr. Bin Laden such as:
>"Jihad is allowed against infidels like the Jews, Christians and atheists"
>" Our enemy, the target -- if God gives Muslims the opportunity to do so-
>is every American male"
>"The ruling to kill the Americans and their allies--civilians and military--
>is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in
>which it is possible to do it"
>And like everybody else Robert watched on live TV as this same man
>butchered 6 thousand people in one hour. So with understandable
>exasperation he asked Samantha Atkins " Samantha , if you read this
>- -- can you possibly interpret the above statement in any way other
>than "these people want you dead"?" Samantha dismissed the brutal
>language and charred bodies with a wave of her hand and just said
>"Quite easily. As I am sure you can also with a moment or two more of
>reflection." She then proceeded with a long dictionary definition quotation
>in an attempt to show that when a man says clearly and articulately that
>he wants to kill you more than anything else in the whole wide world and
>even after he has in fact killed you it is nevertheless not a sign of
>I rather doubt that Robert is really puzzled by this behavior, I suspect that
>he and most of the members of this list have found the solution but are just
>too polite to state the obvious. I however think some things need to be said
>and will do so now. The world is full of blithering idiots and Samantha
>is one of them.
>John K Clark firstname.lastname@example.org
"If you can't take a little bloody nose, maybe you ought to go back home and
crawl under your bed. It's not safe out here. It's wondrous, with treasures
to satiate desires both subtle and gross. But it's not for the timid."
-Q, Star Trek:TNG episode 'Q Who'
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