Thursday, September 11, 2008

if only...

I've been thinking a lot today about the three year girl who was on the first plane to crash into the Twin Towers. She died with her parents, which must have been both agonizing and comforting for the whole family.

Who was she? I mean, almost all three year olds are cute, even the ones with horrible manners who bully their playmates. Did she have Downs' Syndrome? Autism? Did she long to be a ballerina or Disney Princess, or was she a tomboy who wanted nothing more than to climb trees and chase frogs?

I know that the 9/11 hijackers wanted to kill as many Americans as possible, but what went through their minds when they saw a small child, traveling with her parents? Glee? Or did they have a moment in which they needed to steel themselves?

With all of the politicking and contradictions which have surrounded the post-9/11 world, I do think we've lost track of the fact that everyone - the passengers, the fire-fighters, the people at the Pentagon - they were all people.

Speaking of people - Track Palin deploys today along with I cannot imagine how many other sons, daughters, sisters, brothers, wives and husbands. He is a celebrity, but they are all people.


John said...

I find it very difficult, Lemming, to tell what passes through the minds of any terrorists who kill innocent people, men, women and children. I saw the aftermath of one of the IRA bombings in England, for which nobody was ever convicted.

In some cases the terrorists are dupes, who have been recruited because of their known failings, grudges or inadequacies which are then nurtured by the shadowy "godfathers" until they become fanatical hatred of whatever they are indoctrinated to see as the "reason" for their failure or misfortunes in life.

In some cases, such as the 9/11 killers, this is combined with indoctrination into a warped and fanatical form of a religion.

Which ever method is used, all the evidence seems to suggest that by the time they carry out their mission, most of these terrorists are on an evil form of "high" in which their victims are no longer seen as individuals, but simply as part of "the enemy" which they have pledged themselves to destroy.

So sadly, in answer to what they felt on seeing the three-year-old, it is likely they felt nothing at all.

Jeanne said...

I'm going off to teach the Otterbein common book this morning, A Long Way Gone, about a child soldier in Africa. He details how he was taught to be utterly callous, and what lengths UNICEF personnel had to go to in order to bring him out of it.

As they sing in South Pacific, "You have to be carefully taught."

Of course, for some people, it just comes naturally; think of Iago. The scariest thing about him is that, in the end, you can't pin down his motive.