I don’t know about you but I’m scared.
I’m scared when I see a plane in the sky. I’m scared when I hear a siren. And I’m scared when I turn on the TV and see the destruction caused by a dozen men with a few boxcutters.
But I’m more scared of some people’s attitudes.
I stopped at a gas station last Tuesday night for a fill up because I heard gas prices might skyrocket the next day.
The attendant was about my age, in his early to mid twenties. He looked like a decent guy.
I told him to fill it up. While he was standing next to the car I said something about how I couldn’t believe what happened.
“Yeah I know,” he said. “I can’t wait to get my hands on a gun.”
I didn’t say anything.
He went on to say he had gotten out of the military a year or two before. He was going to reenlist.
“I can’t wait to get over there and kill some f***ing ragheads,” he said while putting the gas cap back on.
On the ride home I was trying to process what I had just heard.
I realized a few things: He was angry. He really believed that killing some Muslims would solve the problem. And the country was probably full of people who felt exactly like he did.
That scared me.
Last Tuesday night that gas station attendant didn’t know who was responsible for the attacks. He didn’t care. And he was prepared to kill.
From what I’ve heard in the media most of the country feels the same way. People want an immediate reaction. They are ready for war.
I also want an immediate reaction. Just like the rest of the nation, I need my country to prove it’s capable of protecting me from the kind of violence I saw last week.
I need to know that the guy sitting beside me on my next flight out of the Portland Jetport doesn’t have a boxcutter hidden in his belt or a bomb in his suitcase. I need to feel safe.
But dropping a bomb on the middle East will not make me feel safe. It will only be a reminder that there are weapons of mass destruction in the world that anybody with a million dollars can buy.
Charging off into a war with Afghanistan will not make me feel safe. It will lead to thousands of deaths and reinforce the hatred that the terrorists already have for our country.
Our country is outraged that over 5,000 civilians were killed, yet we seem eager to charge into the Middle East and do the same thing. We will kill many in the pursuit of a few.
And we will not end terrorism.
Media reports say that over 5,000 people from over 50 countries have passed through Osama Bin Laden’s training camps.
We will not kill them all.
To think “we will rid the world of evil,” as our president put it is pretentious and impractical.
This does not mean I think we should sit back and do nothing. But charging off into war will not make me feel safer. It scares me to death.
It will endanger the lives of kids like my 17-year-old brother who’s already talking about enlisting. It will endanger the lives of millions of innocent people in countries like Afghanistan who are ruled by the extremist groups like the Taliban. And it might endanger our relationship with any country that doesn’t agree with a plan that emphasizes action above reason.