Nine years after the terrorist attacks and I have become reflective of the changes not only to our society but the changes in myself. As a Federal worker I was very afraid of being targeted by terrorist both abroad but also by US citizens. The impact of terrorism effects the job choices I make within my organization. People have told me that I should put in for Agent jobs, and I say you must be out of your mind. I have no intentions of approaching people or business so that I can get shot!
Also, I have in the past, and will in the near future, be working in a Federal Office building. My office will be on the same floor as Homeland Security and Immigration and Naturalization...and I sorta think, I really don't want to work on that floor.
I remember what I was doing nine years ago, in my office when someone announced that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. And then the sense of panic when a second plane crashed into it and we knew that this was no accident. Thoughts of the Oklahoma City bombing came to mind and the total helplessness that you feel because you know people are dying and it could have been any of us.
Not long after the September 11 attacks, our department moved to a FOB and I would walk past the daycare and see the kids gathering in a straight line so that their teacher can take them outside to play. And I see people coming in and out of the building so that they can get a replacement social security card, or speak to volunteers to help fill out tax forms, or any number of things that people need in order to take care of their necessary business. I see hundreds upon hundreds of people that are living their lives the best way that they can. Why do terrorists think that they solve anything by targeting these random people that are just trying to live their lives?
I recall my children's father and I deciding that we would not work in the same building in case one was the target of a terrorist attack and that we wouldn't put the children in a daycare at a governmental building. It is always in the forefront of my mind that due to legislation that allowed for increased security around FOB's that over sixty terrorists plots have been stopped--my office being included in that.
I dated a guy who had such a hatred in his heart for everything that wasn't like him. I remember his extreme hatred of anyone who appeared to have a Middle Eastern descent. You don't always know that a person has such racial issues; I thought because he was a white guy that only dated black women that he was open minded about all things. But when he made racial slurs against Middle Easterners I was offended. He said, 'you of all people should hate them considering that your offices are their targets! Every one of them should be blown up!' I said to my EX-BOYFRIEND (anyone like that could never stay my boyfriend), I said, 'If you knew me at all, you would know that talking about killing innocent people is the wrong thing to ever say to me.'
The changes to society as I see it, is that people like him, who hate, now feel that they have permission to be vocal in their dislike. They want war, and to fight, and to kill. And I see things as if they were a giant chess board where two figure heads are sitting loftily away from the danger, sending out their pawns to do their dirty work...I see blood and loss and death and tears and then at the end of the day these huge lofty figureheads shake hands and say good game, but I'll get you next time.
I know there are huge emotions that are involved with the topic of war and terrorism. I'm not trying to debate them. I have my stance just like everyone else. But the effects on our society is that some people have worked extra hard to understand people of Middle East cultures and some people have given in to their baser instincts. Look at the Mosque project near ground zero, look at the minister who will burn the Qu'ran. It makes you tired.