| Like most people, I remember September 11, 2001 like it was yesterday.|
When the first plane hit the WTC, I was driving northbound on Route 128 somewhere around the Mass Pike, heading to work in Waltham.
When I walked into the production control area of Private Healthcare Systems... there was no one. Not one person at their desk in a department of eight people. I hadn't heard anything about the first plane. I had no clue what was happening. I made my own hours at this job (within reason), and I thought it was extremely odd that all the folks who should have been toiling at their desks already for at least an hour were nowhere to be found.
So I figured I'd walk into the data center to see if anyone knew where they were.
After swiping my access card and walking through the door, I found them. Not only the production control folks, but most of the IT division. All in the data center... in front of the consoles.
I guess I should mention for the folks out there who don't work in IT, or have access to a data center... they usually have huge televisions. Obstensibly the TVs are for "news" and "weather" channels, but the occasional sporting event has been watched in many data centers on 6 foot rear projection screens.
I was shocked everyone would be in there watching TV. Until I tried to push through to find my boss and started hearing what was going on. Plane. World Trade Center. Fire.
As I got in view of the large screen TVs, I could see the smoke pouring out of the building.
Then it happened.
The picture above is basically what I remember seeing... moments after arriving at work. I was horrified.
I never really knew I was a libertarian. I didn't know what a libertarian was back then. I just knew I didn't fit in the round hole of the democrats, or the square peg of the republicans.... but I knew I did have some things in common with both. I knew I believed in real freedom and the rights of the individual. I believed in the US Constitution. Freedoms and Rights written on paper and agreed to be followed by the people we elect.
Over the next few weeks after the devastating and horrific loss of innocent life in those attacks, I heard over and over.... "They hate us for our freedoms", "They hate us because we have guaranteed rights"
Well, it's ten years later.
We don't have those same freedoms. We don't have those same rights. The 4th amendment has been decimated. We live in a time where the government doesn't need a warrant to tap your phone line, or tell your ISP to hand over your emails.... they just need to say the word "terrorism". Presto. The Patriot Act. A free pass to a police state.
In the last 5 years, the Patriot Act has been used more for drug investigations than for terrorism investigations... to the tune of 1000-10. Thousands of what would otherwise be illegal searches during drug investigations are now allowed so the government can do the same in 10 terrorism investigations. Of course of those 10 terror related Patriot Act warrantless (or "delayed warrant") investigations... not one has led to a court conviction.
So, while I mourn the thousands of innocent Americans who died at the hands of cowards who flew airplanes into buildings on September 11, 2001, one thing I will remember is... those people died at least a little freer than you or I are today. And I think it's very sad that because those cowards with box cutters "hated us for our freedoms" enough to use them to kill, that our government has forced us to give those freedoms up. Freedom doesn't negotiate with terrorists. Freedom doesn't bow to terrorists.
Oh, and all those TSA safety rules... remember, it was box cutters. Not shampoo. Not shoes. Not the diaper of an incontinent grandmother. Box cutters.
Today I'll remember all those free people who died at the hands of fanatical murders ten years ago. And I'll mourn. For them, and for us. Free people. We don't really exist any more... or we are least on our last legs.
Those who would give up essential liberty for temporary safety deserve neither.
Benjamin Franklin 1775
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