in Epistles

Senseless Day

A senseless day: terrorist attack in Paris, 
fires in refugee camps, and who knows how vigilantes are expressing themselves.
Flipping through my notebook, I found a letter to my friend Dan in September.
Fitting to type it today.

September 10, 2015

Dear Dan,

Fifteen years. Or, fourteen I guess. Almost fifteen.

I always remember being with you that morning. Television experiences. First the radio. “We’re hearing reports that a plane has flown into the World Trade Center.” That’s what Amy said, on the radio. We were doing some work on the mud room (or getting ready to stain the siding?) Some kind of home renovation was the plan for the day. The radio was on in the background. Then Amy said that…  Suddenly the television was in the foreground.

We spent the rest of the day watching television, like most Americans, like much of the world.

Now it’s fifteen years later. Or fourteen. I often wonder “What if I’d planted the ginseng that fall like I had planned to?” Could have should have.

What has changed in these 15 years? How many species have gone extinct? How much radiation was released on 3/11?  How much depleted uranium has been used in Iraq?

A downward spiral feeds back on itself. You can’t unsee the birth defects of Iraqi children. You can only never have seen them in the first place. I was so much more optimistic 15 years ago, about life, the universe, everything. I had some friends visit from the city this weekend. 30-something ladies with no children. They loved Nadia, of course. Played auntie and ran around holding her. It was fun, we had fun, so much fun… but somehow whenever we started really having fun, we had to stop because, you know, Syrian refugees.

Does that make any sense?

Aylan Kurdi‘s corpse gnawed on our minds. The image itself, and the response. The impact of innocence on the spectacle, while in the real world every black and brown “military-age male” is a target. Does that make sense? Why make sense? … These past 15 years have not made sense.

That’s what I remember this week. I propose that September 11th should be a national holiday called “Senseless Day” where we contemplate episodes of meaningless violence. Drunk drivers. School shootings. Airstrikes. Hiroshima.

Face of a Warthog

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