What happened today was a travesty and a tragedy, and all of our hearts go out to not only the immediate victims, but to their friends and family, all Americans, and indeed, the world. Violence is never right, acceptable or justifiable. Never.

The U.S. media has continuously used phrases such as “direct call to war,” or “first strike in a war.” However, the American public and its representatives have declared no such war. And who would they declare it against? No evidence has been gathered, no responsibility has been claimed. Part of the American freedom that President Bush claims has been taken away involves the concept of “innocent until proven guilty.” Unfortunately, a certain man has been continuously blamed and shown on TV, even though he and his group have not claimed responsibility, nor has any concrete evidence yet been found.

We should also take a look at history. As people across the country compare today’s tragedy to the bombing of Pearl Harbor, we should remember that some argue the U.S. government had full knowledge of that bombing before it occurred, and chose not to prevent the death of American lives because the government knew it would result in an involvement of WWII. Today, the newscasters frequently called the American people ‘innocent victims’ and spoke out against blatant and ‘cowardly’ terrorism. I am in no way saying this event, or any form of violence against Americans or others, is justified, but the United States has frequently engaged in acts of terrorism across the world, enacting false governments, staging coups, and using the U.S. military without the consent of Congress, all in the name of freedom, democracy, and capitalism. Due to these and other acts, every American, regardless of level of awareness or participation, is a happy and sometimes blissfully ignorant beneficiary of the crime.

We need to remember that we, the people, are in charge of this country. We need answers, we need justice, but we also need peace.