Picture this if you will.
Sometime after 9/11, I get on a plane at LAX. There’s a young lady sitting at the window, I’m on the aisle. The middle seat is unoccupied. After a few minutes a guy dressed in a fluffy, hunting orange down jacket stops at our row. Having a jacket isn’t unusual since it’s February and this flight is heading to the midwest, the hunters orange is uhh interesting.
He’s the middle seat. It’s blazing hot in the plane and this guy doesn’t take his jacket off. My jacket is stuffed in my backpack under the seat in front of me, I’ve got the little vents in the overhead wide open, and I’m still sweating like a pig.
The young lady in the window seat flashes me a quizzical look while Mr. Middle seat is getting settled. I shrug back at her thinking, “To each his own.”
After a few minutes more of passengers boarding there’s the distinct “pop” you feel in your ears as the doors are closed and the plane starts building positive cabin pressure. Then the engines spin up and we’re backing away from the gate.
At this point Mr. Middle seat pulls a book out of his backpack.
It’s an ornate thing, gold lettering, red lettering, and looks a lot like the old illuminated books you see in museums. I happen to notice that the lettering is one of the Arabic typestyles. (You don’t test printers for years and not recognize on sight, the written characters of every language, even if you can’t read the language.) Mr. Middle Seat flips to a passage and begins reading. As he’s reading he’s rocking back and forth.
The lady at the window is now ashen, wide eyed, and clearly ready to jump out the window. We’ve just left the ground and are in the climb portion of the flight. Out the window past the clearly frightened face of the young lady I see the Pacific glittering and beautiful. The sun tracks across the cabin as the plane turns, coming to its prescribed course and heading, for a moment sunlight warms my face and I think, “I could be dead in the next few minutes.”
You see, for some reason my mind has always worked by simulating a situation. It’s a defense mechanism, a way to distance myself from shitty stuff that’s happened or happening in my life. I usually get into trouble when I actually exist in the moment experiencing an event real time.
For instance, if I were going to blow up a plane it wouldn’t be over an ocean.
With that thought in mind, I was calculating the altitude and visualizing a fully fueled 727 exploding into a fireball over the heavily populated downtown areas of either Los Angeles or Long Beach.
Yeah, if you’re going to do it go for maximum damage and chaos.
Even if a bomb didn’t take the plane out of the sky in a rain of flaming pieces…
During the climb phase of the the flight, a catastrophic event still leaves the pilot with little control and very few options to land a severely damaged plane short of crashing into the aforementioned downtown areas. Visions of the World Trade center buildings falling replay in my head.
Then I have the inescapable thought;
Here I am, completely vulnerable, bereft of even the basic ability to defend myself and strapped into a chair from which, if I’m lucky someone will be able to retrieve my charred remains. There’s nothing I can do except pray that it’s quick and relatively painless.
So I prayed. I took comfort in prayer and in those few moments calmed the panic that had begun to take hold in my gut.
Calmer, I removed my shiny metal pen from my pocket, and gripped it tightly. I thought, “If there is a bomb and it’s not using some kind of altitude detonator then this guy if he’s a terrorist, may have a switch of some kind. If that’s the case, there’s a chance that it’s not armed or at least isn’t a deadman switch because I can see his hands. Therefore, if he makes the slightest twitchy move toward a pocket or something inside that jacket, I’m gonna do my best to shove this pen through his eye and swirl it like I’ve heard doctors in insane asylums used to do during lobotomies. I’ll hope to God I’m right, and I’ll pray for forgiveness if I’m wrong.”
And that’s the way we flew to Dallas.
In retrospect the guy may simply have been afraid of flying. Lots of people are, and many of them pray through the entire flight.
Which brings me to my point(s).
Post San Bernardino it is clear that we can not know who is radicalized and who is not. We can’t know where the next attack is likely to come from. So I, like many Americans am interested more than ever in owning a gun, and obtaining a concealed carry permit.
If you’ve ever known a woman who was raped, she’ll tell you being vulnerable and feeling incapable of defending herself is almost as bad as the rape itself, because that vulnerability and fear is persistent.
Unfortunately, I’ve known several women who were raped. (Unfortunate because they had to endure rape and it’s aftermath.)
Every single one of these women carried a lot more in their purses than mints and powder. One of the women was attacked a second time by the same man, she put a bullet in him and experienced a sense of closure.
Her gun was illegal, she had no carry permit, and the kind police officers doctored the scene to make it look like the rapist had brought the gun and during the struggle my friend got the gun and fired point blank into his chest.
She lost the gun, but she knew where to get another one and called the loss, the “cost of doing business.”
Having seen the toll vulnerability and fear takes, and experienced similar vulnerability personally, I can say without hesitation that it’s not something anyone seeks out.
To fight fear some people pray. This brings them comfort, peace, and clarity, in the face of unimaginable horror or adversity. Sometimes, prayer makes people more merciful and provides a much needed time out, thus allowing clearer heads to rule the day.
Others take a proactive stance, attempting to control a situation and in asserting control, they achieve a clarity of purpose. I’m a control freak and therefore in the latter category.
I shamelessly want to get training in self defense. I will be carrying the biggest knife I can legally and practically carry, and want the appropriate training to be a concealed carry permit holder. I can’t see myself leaving my home unarmed ever again.
This is not fear… this is being prepared. I for one do not want to be put down like an ailing pet, or slaughtered in some mindless act of violence in service of a religion that is not my own.
Make no mistake, the terrorists are here in our country. They like to think of themselves as lone wolves. I want to join a pack of American Gray Wolves, (The gray wolf is the largest of the wolves,) and be ready to rip a lone wolf terrorist apart.
Indeed this shit has to stop, but it’s obviously not going to stop if we willingly become victims.
I’m confused and honestly angry that The President, Hillary Clinton, Dianne Feinstein, and innumerable other politicians, reporters and celebrities saw fit to start with the anti-gun rhetoric before the bodies had even been removed from the IRC in San Bernardino.
I can’t believe that these so called leaders are advocating making us all easy targets and therefore victims. A body count is all we get from being unable to defend ourselves.
If just one or two guards, or people in that room had been able to shoot back and hit their target, there might be more people alive today. It’s possible that a six month old little girl abandoned at her grandmother’s house, might have her mommy and daddy albeit they’d be in prison but they’d be alive.
Another thing I’ve found really offensive over the past two days is the shaming, and denigration of prayer.
I had dismissed out of hand the concept that Christianity was under attack in this country. I’m re-evaluating that dismissal.
When did it become OK, even required to allow Muslims to pray while at the same time a Christian or Jew who prays is treated in the media as some kind of moron?
Regardless of your beliefs everyone prays in one way or another. There’s the old saying; “There are no atheists in a foxhole.” I personally believe that is a true statement.
Everyone in a dire situation calls upon a higher power. It’s human nature to ask for miraculous intervention. See every story about every deity ever named.
There is no shame in being human.
There is plenty of shame to go around when, in this country we try to deny people a simple moment of silence.
The shame can be spread like a thick layer of manure, when our leaders and journalists are disrespectful of the beliefs of Christians while at the same time pandering to the beliefs and demands of CAIR or Muslims in general.
The stench of shame rises like that of an overflowing porta-potty on a hot summer day when we accept that the NRA, Christians, Republicans, Gun Owners and Victims are conflated into one group, then blamed for somehow being responsible for Radicalized Jihadists legally obtaining guns then shooting innocent people in an orgy of Islamic religious ecstasy.
We all should feel shame that we’ve allowed ourselves to be inculcated against speaking our concerns about suspicious behavior out for fear of being called islamophobic or racist. That foul reek wafts across our land like rotting fish in sweltering August heat.
Our leaders are steeped in all this shame. And still they have the floor, they are safe behind their tax payer supplied armed security forces.
Standing on heaped bodies, they call for gun control, they call to end our 2nd ammendment rights, even as they blame everyone except the criminals for the heinous crime.
They ignore our demands for control, not of our guns, but control of our sovereign borders. They refuse to speak the name of our enemy.
In their profound arrogance, our leaders use anyone and any situation to forward their agendas and too many of us swallow partisan rhetoric dolled out in sound bites by the media resource we prefer to listen to, never once stopping to question the message.
Our leaders are right, this must stop, just not the way so many of them advocate.