The number of human lives lost in yesterday’s attack is stunning. The image of people taking their chances jumping 80 stories rather than remaining in a burning building will stay with our nation forever. The suffering of our people in the past two days and in the days to come will be immense and immeasurable.
There is no possible way to exact a fitting punishment for the enormity of this crime against humanity. There will be no justice served today or tomorrow, and in all likelihood, ever. The deaths and injuries of thousands of innocent people to further an agenda that the terrorists did not even have the courage to make known is indescribably appalling. None of the victims deserved to die for any crime they had committed. They were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time, killed for being Americans.
As a nation, we enjoy more privilege, comfort and safety than citizens of nearly any other country in the world. Our size and strength make it nearly impossible for us to imagine that others have it differently, and if we can visualize the lives of citizens elsewhere, we cannot imagine that their circumstances are beyond their control. For example, we generally think that people everywhere have the power to work their way up and control their own destiny. This rings more true in our country than anywhere else, but is for the most part a fallacy.
Our government has done things to advance our position in the world’s system of power – at times, things that were downright terrible – and in some places our government still is doing such things. We are seen as the “land where dollar is king,” and it is terrifying to see how true this has become. How fitting it is that the terrorists would attack the World Trade Center.
So what do we do now? Whether or not we wage war against the terrorist group thought to be responsible or the entire Middle East, no one will ever “get what they deserve.” No one can ever “pay the price” for this crime. If we strike in anger, we could make the situation worse – cause more “needless suffering.” In all likelihood, many more innocent people will suffer, for there is no way to exact justice against the terrorists on this earth.