Wednesday, September 12, 2012

9/11 and Our Blindness to Islam

We started the day like everyone else did.

I was still a Law Enforcement in New Jersey at the time - I had a full nine years left to my retirement.

I was told by a passer-by that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. We turned on the radio and were fortunate to find that the radio announcers on 95.5 WPLJ in NYC were able to see what was going on. As they were discussing the smoke, confusion in the streets, and Emergency Response, a got-wrenching cry went out - "Oh my God, another plane just hit the South Tower!" . After more lamentations, one of the announcers stated, in manner that clearly indicated that there was no doubt, "New York City is under attack.".

By then our department had taken measures to increase our security in areas under our our jurisdiction

The announcers continued to broadcast as the towers burned. In abject anguish they described the people exiting the tower, the increasing flames that were consuming the structures, and the last acts of defiance of the people trapped in the floors above the fire who, refusing to wait for the inevitable, leaped to their deaths.

Shortly after, one of ours officers was on his cellphone, presumably with his wife. He kept asking  in an incredulous manner "They hit the Pentagon?"

The announcers, in disbelief, told us that the South Tower was collapsing. The pain in their words was unmistakable. There was no doubt that not only has people still in the tower died, but that many on the ground had been killed in the falling debris.

As the minutes ticked away, the expected happened. The grieving announcers informed us that the North Tower too had collapsed.

Our agency had dispatched officers from our response units to head for the crime scene - State jurisdictional issues would have to be ignored for the time being.

Being a Bomb Technician, I was dispatched to several locations that had received bomb threats and where people had noted suspicious packages and vehicles. We worked through the night, but there was no doubt that our tasks were nothing compared to those who were in the Hell of Lower Manhattan. It was while en-route to the first call that I was able to pick up from the radio about a plane that had crashed in a rural section of Pennsylvania. While I was traveling Northward to the first scene, the smoke cloud had become so massive on the horizon that, even being almost 30 miles away, it would cause a person who knew nothing of the attacks to think that all of Manhattan was ablaze.

Two days later, I drove my youngest, who was five years-old at the time, to a high point not far from our home from where he could see the smoke that was rising from what was formerly a beautiful skyline. I asked him to remember what he was seeing and, echoing what I had told him on 9/12, stated that very bad people had taken over planes from the pilots and crashed them into our buildings in New York (He was too small to understand flight 93 or the Pentagon). Some who have assumed the sheep mentality and hold that children should be shielded from such horror will think awful things about me, but I am on the opposite side of that argument. My son is a High School Junior, is well-adjusted, is on his HS wrestling and Baseball teams, avoids trouble like the plague, and desires to be a Marine Officer.

In the months following, I served to rotations with my National Guard Unit assisting the Port Authority Police with security at the NJ?NY bridges and tunnels. While packing for the second tour, I kept noticing that, no matter how many socks or underwear I packed, they were gone when I returned. Trying again, I caught sight of the boy running away with a pair of socks; in an effort to prevent me from being able to leave, he had been hiding my clothing. I spent almost an hour with him on my lap as I explained why some people have to go for a while to help the whole community. He plead with me that the "Policemans" could do the work. When I respond that the cops were doing that already and that they were busy with other work, he tearfully offered the 'Firemans" as a solution.

After talking to him for some time, I found that he was not in any way fearful of any danger to me, he just wanted his Dad to be home. I told him about all the other kids his age who will never see their Dads and Moms again because they were killed by the bad people. I added that I would call home often and be back home in a few weeks. Reasonably satisfied, he then went to his room. Later, I found a green Power Ranger action figure protruding from one of the pockets of my tactical/load-bearing vest. I still have that Green Ranger.

The child never forgot the importance of service to his people and nation and that bad people must be stopped. Despite the propaganda in the schools, many young people know more than their elders.

To rewind a bit, I spoke to an attorney a few days after 9/11. This was a nice person whom I would see often in the course of my duties. We always spent a few minutes speaking about current events. This time, after he mentioned the terrorists, I noted that we needed to start talking about what Islam is. Apparently thinking that he was in agreement with me, he interjected, "It's a religion of peace.'" I paused and gave the Islam 101 as briefly as I could as we were both at work. He mentioned the Crusades. I explained Militant Christianity 101. Here it is:

In the early Church, the question was whether or not a Christian could even remain in the army without being in conflict with his faith.

St. Augustine of Hippo, who came almost four centuries later , was the first to synthesize the concept of a "Just war".

It was another four centuries until the Western Church began to advocate employing Christian soldiers in acts of warfare for the faith. Charlemagne had forced conversion on the Saxons (The ones in Germany - not in England) in the eighth century, but this was clearly an act of defense of a political realm as the Saxons had repeatedly engaged in terribly brutal attacks inside the boundaries of the early French Kingdom.

Conquest by vicious warfare, with slave-taking, acquiring of loot, and murders of polytheists and those who refuse to become Dhimmi, are a central part of Islamic doctrine - they are in the Koran.  Militant Christianity only developed as a response to that of Islam. It is not part of the core of Christian beliefs, and there were those of the Church did not accept the concept of a Crusade.

The Crusades were relatively a blip on the radar of history, while Islamic conquests have gone on for 1,400 years. The Crusades were also ultimately mostly unsuccessful, so Muslim have no real room for complaints. The Bible holds that the State possesses the sword and that it is responsible for necessary military actions. The Church, realizing that little was being done by the Western Euroepan powers, stepped in to exhort the peopleof Europe to take action.

Militant Christianity has no comparison to that of Islam.

The attorney had to go to court, so I never learned whether or not that fact sunk in.

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