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Wednesday, September 12, 2001

 
Messages from the Editor -- Barry Windsor-Smith, on yesterday's events:

"It is truly as if the devil and his vile minions rose up out of hell to destroy thousands of human beings.

The chilling film of the second plane entering the South Tower, wings vertical to inflict maximum impact through 8 floors, at 600 mph, with those innocents on board and all of those targeted, is nothing that Dante could have imagined in his most foul nightmares.

None of us will ever be the same."


I wonder when it will be time to talk about comics again. Just over 24 hours after the terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C., it doesn't seem like I am ever going to want to write another comics-related review or commentary again.

Perhaps I shouldn't be as astonished as I am that at least one well-known comics reviewer was continuing to discuss comics online less than a day after the attacks, even including a smiley-face emoticon to highlight his wit in a Usenet post.

The word disgust doesn't even begin to explain my feelings after seeing this. I can only hope that the slowdowns of the internet yesterday resulted in that post having been written before word spread about how the world changed on September 11th, 2001.

I just started a new job at a radio station with a busy newsroom. Busy even on the quietest of days, it is now a frenzied mosh pit of broadcast journalists trying to get good information, new information, different information; it's all, for us, three and a half hours safely up I-87 from Ground Zero in Manhattan, about the information.

They say, on TV, in the newspaper headlines, in the radio industry that I have been a part of for 16 years, that this is a war. IT'S WAR blared the Daily News headline. Secretary of State Colin Powell said this morning that we may not legally, technically, be at war, but that he believes that is what this is.

How can it be a war, when we don't know for certain who the enemy is? Is it Osama bin Laden, harboured for the past few years by Afghanistan? All signs seem to point to yes, but I don't believe things until I see them, and sometimes not even until then. In a world where the media, government and zeitgeist itself conspire to create an oblivious, accidentally deliberate fog of disinformation, we are bombarded with theories, deluged with rumours, and flooded, frankly, with out-and-out horseshit. Former Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleberger suggesting at 4 AM the day after the attacks, for example, that the best thing the U.S. could do is carpet bomb all nations suspected of terrorism. It may sound off the wall, I heard him say, but it must it be done.

Must it?

And what if we do nothing? So far as I can see, there is only the slimmest of evidence pointing to possible culprits in the first day after the worst day in U.S. history. Certainly, more clues may be found. Someone may even come forward and tell what they know. After all, someone, somewhere knows what happened. Chances are, lots of someones. But if everyone that knows the truth is as possessed by zealotry as whoever it is that carried out these monumental attacks, perhaps we will never know. Perhaps everyone that knew has already killed themselves, forever obliterating any hope of finding out the truth. That may sound off the wall, but no more so than former Secretary of State Eagleberger and his "kill 'em all" philosophy.

Without a doubt, September 11th, 2001 is a day that will never be forgotten by anyone old enough to even begin to understand the enormity of what happened. My children, ages 5 and 7, will not forget this. My daughter's birthday is tomorrow. She'll be eight years old. I hope that this is the worst thing that ever happens to the country she lives in. But given the ease with which this mission was carried out, and the notorious ability of Americans to compartmentalize and forget, I suspect it won't be.

This could happen again. It could happen again next week, next year, or on my daughter's birthday.

Tomorrow.

You know, I haven't bought her gift yet. I have no idea what to get her two days after her country has suffered its worst assault in history, when virtually everyone around her is in shock to one degree or another, when people are on edge, depressed, crying, enraged.

I will get her something, because her life will go on, and that of my son, and my wife. Our family goes on.

And in a greater sense, our family as a community will go on. The internet was impaired by these events, but it was not broken. I used it to contact friends in New York, and now I am using it to work out in words my feelings, now, 26 hours after this all began.

I encourage you, in the hours and days ahead, to use whatever medium you can to reach those who matter to you. Express your feelings, ask the questions that you need to ask to get whatever peace of mind you can get.

Eventually, I imagine, you and I will be using the internet to once again discuss comic books.

But that day will not be today.

Originally written for Comic Book Galaxy prior to the launch of the ADD Blog.

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