Eleven years after the 9-11 attacks, I'm wondering if we are normal again.
Obviously, we have severely incapacitated Al Qaeda's ability to carry out large scale attacks. Every week brings news of yet another major figure killed in an airstrike. Osama bin Laden is long gone and it really seems like most of the things we were told were going to happen (suicide bombers in shopping malls, WMD attacks) have not come to pass.
I have to admit that I feel pretty satisfied with how national security issues have been handled in the last four years. In fact, I think we owe a big part of how secure we are to everyday people who, since the attacks on September 11, carry with them a built in awareness that was not there before the attacks. This is particularly true in New York City.
In this sense, we are normal because paying more attention to the details around us has become part of our daily lives...although people at the gym still think I'm nuts when I point out large, unattended black duffel bags. I suppose my time in Paris in the late 80s/early 90s will continue to have an effect on me. So, I suppose normal is a relative term.
Still, I can't help but feel an enormous amount of frustration and sadness on this day which, honestly, I think is going to continue for every subsequent September 11. This recent article details a level of incompetence that ended up costing lives and not just on 9-11. The conspiracy theories have gotten to be so outlandish and, quite frankly, in very poor taste that I have Facebook friends now making fun of people who don't believe in them. Worse, they poke fun at the relatives of the victims of the attacks simply because their self-righteous paranoia won't allow them to admit fault. And then there are the people who simply ignore this day and continue focusing on their shallow and vapid existence...I don't get it....
I guess I sound bitter but that's the taste that this day has always brought to my mouth. We're not normal but maybe we never have been. And, unlike they teach us kindergarten, sometimes that's not a good thing.