Tomorrow marks the anniversary of one of the greatest tragedies this country has ever witnessed. You’re going to see a lot of posts, many of them trying to whip up an emotional fervor. This is not one of those posts.
I originally wrote this years ago, and until I come up with something more poignant that does justice to what I’m trying to say, I’m going to keep posting it:
18 years ago this country suffered a tragedy the likes of which it had never seen before. Unfortunately, over the past decade we have lost sight of what September 11 2001 actually represents. People from all over the country have manipulated and misinterpreted the event to serve their own purposes.
I’m as red-blooded and patriotic as the next guy, but this isn’t going to be an “America’s great and we need to destroy evil” kind of commentary. And before all you hippies get excited, anyone who knows me already knows that this ain’t gonna be a “We need to be tolerant, hold hands and hug it out” message either. What today is about is something much simpler than politics or religion. It’s about the people in your life that you care about.
This is something that everyone, myself included, take for granted. How many times have you passed over a friend or family member’s phone number, email address or screen name, thinking “I’ll talk to them later. They’re not going anywhere.” Something else we are all guilty of is investing far too much energy on people that aren’t worth our time: the tailgater, the rude cashier, that jackass that took your parking spot. Collectively we spend more time thinking about people that piss us off (and we usually don’t even know) than those that actually matter in our lives.
September 11 shouldn’t be a representation of people being shitty to each other, we can see examples of that every day. What we have lost sight of is that, for one glimmering moment of clarity, this tragedy brought out the best in every last one of us in America. For a split second our priorities changed.
How many people went to work at the Pentagon and World Trade center that day, or got on what they thought was another routine flight and expected to be able to call their parents, apologize to their wife, hug their kids, or tell someone they loved them as soon as they got home?
That is what today should be all about. Call a friend you haven’t spoken too in a while. Remind your parents you love them. If there’s someone in your life that you love, whether they know it or not, tell them! I’m not saying that life is necessarily short, although it can be. All I’m saying is that (and I apologize for sounding like a motivational speaker) you should live life like you mean it! Lots of people just go through the motions, but I guarantee you can do something that will enrich your day. It’s just up to you to figure out what that is. Just ask yourself this question: If there’s something in your heart that you’re thinking about doing, would you be able to forgive yourself if you never got that opportunity to do it?
The other reality this day forces us to confront is the fact that we live in a world that is sometimes ugly, chaotic, and hostile. Those of you that know me well know that I place very heavy importance on protection and self-defense. I’m not saying everyone has to go out and buy a gun, but this day should serve as a reminder. How many people that perished left their house that morning thinking they were perfectly safe, and that it was a routine day like any other? Tragedy and violence can find any one of us, and can strike at any time. I view it as my personal obligation to take the measures I deem necessary to ensure that I go home safe every day, because I have people who rely on me, and whose safety and well being I am responsible for.
This is going to mean different things for different people. For some, it may simply inspire them to get in better physical shape, and take care of themselves more. For others, it may be the catalyst to take up the mantle of self-protection. It could be as simple as taking a class in trauma first aid, or as extensive as learning the tools and techniques of combatives.
At the end of the day, there is someone that you owe it to to walk through your door safely, and in one piece. Don’t leave it up to chance.
You’ll see a lot of posts today of very evocative imagery and words. A lot of people still expressing anger and disbelief. That, in and of itself, is nothing but emotional masturbation. It’s a self-gratifying act with no significant result.
What are you DOING with that anger? If you’re just sitting there being pissed off, then you’re not contributing to the solution.
There are really only two “right” answers:
1) You either go out and actively try and make the world a better place, through whatever means/methods suit you. Charity, mission work, mentorship, whatever.
2) You better equip yourself to face the violence that my one day come looking for you. Get in better shape. Learn how to fight. Study the criminal mind. Understand predatory behaviors.
Neither one of these is a universal answer, there are some people that just aren’t suited to one or the other. But doing anything other than one of these does nothing to improve the reality that currently exists.
To quote Seth Anderson Bailey “Be love…until it’s time to shoot a motherfucker in the face”