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Tales from Tejjjas, June 17th, 2001 :: Ben Turner's Soapbox

 

the soapbox @ benturner.com
archived soapbox: June 17th, 2001
"Tales from Tejjjas" [permalink]
    keywords: counter-terrorism, patriotism, racism, Muslims, Islam, 9/11, paranoia
    soapbox #: 298
    written: September 14th, 2001
    words: 1144

"Tales from Tejjjas", an Essay

So my phriends from Philly stopped into Dallas (talk about a step back? :P) and shortly thereafter hell erupts in Manhattan, so their whole visit here has been placed upon a backdrop of feeling kept away from where they feel secure, home, and a whole thing about some evacuations in downtown Dallas and general anxiety and stress all over the country.

And yesterday, Thursday, I decided to take Trish to Fort Worth to see the Kimbell and Billy Bob's famous club. Well, after we came out of Billy Bob's and were going to head back to Dallas, I had to stop in and get a drink at one of the nearby shops. This old Texan guy in cowboy hat and jeans is manning the store and I get a drink and pay the man, concluding my purchase with "have a nice day", to which he responds, "well, it's hard under these recent circumstances."

As if we don't have to deal with the British thinking "have a nice day" is an order and not a general optative wish of good fortune. :P

So I respond, "yeah, I know what you mean, it's been tough." And evidently that was enough to get him going, and he started, in full Texan accent, about how all the young men from Vietnam were trained to kill at 18-19 years old, and now that they're older, that's all they know how to do. They just want to go kill some people after the attack occurred on Tuesday. Keep in mind I'm just holding my Gatorade while Trish is at the door, restraining herself from responding and wanting to get out of there. And then the guy adds that now everyone's all hit up on dope to retain the adrenaline rush they got when they were killing people before. So our society is full of doped up aggressive militants. I didn't say much, I was just being polite and nodding.

Finally Trish rescues me and says we're going to be late. :P

I mean, nothing you can say really to someone when they're talking like that. Plus we're like in the middle of Fort Worth in a small indoor mall, and as I told Trish, Fort Worth is like the tourist entertainment theme park of Dallas as far as down home Texas cowboy stuff goes. We're not exactly gonna find people who are gonna be cool-headed about the situation. I mean, yeeeehaw.

Oh, but the zaniness didn't end there, my friends. Later on we went to Deep Ellum in downtown Dallas and found a lot to park the car in. Nancy and Trish, east coasters that they are, start disputing with the guy about how much the sign says it costs. The guy keeps pointing out what he thinks is the price, even though, out of all the many prices on the board, his is not on there. I came over and looked at the sign and saw it was very poorly done, with two different prices applying to the time we were there. Well Nancy and Trish pay the extra and leave, and I'm stuck talking with the guy about how he thinks they were being rude and me telling him that the sign is all wrong, and that east coasters aren't going to put up with that crap.

But then, get this. The guy's wife comes out, not getting the situation at hand, and like yells at me about how we as a nation need to stop arguing and disputing and worry about bigger things right now, coming together and being friends. Now, what the fuck is up with that shit? That's what really ticked me off. Don't try to rip me off and then try to get away with it by saying arguing is un-called for and unsupportive of your nation. That's utter bs.

That's been the general trend I've noticed. I see complete pompous asses doing helpful things and all, but then they come back and do five victory laps around the circus maximus since they're such heroes. I see people saying things like we should be willing to give up our constitutionally given liberties right now because security is key. People are even suggesting things like internment camps for Arabs, limiting free press, and all that "annoying shit" that "liberals" and "leftists" "bother" us with.

What it is is people using a crisis as an excuse for being assholes. Now, granted, I'm surprised at how well people are banding together. But there are always some who unknowingly make the scale of freedom teeter between both sides, gaining momentum and falling apart. Don't tell me to argue because your price doesn't match the one on the sign. If you want to be so fucking respectful for those who are suffering right now, how about following the laws and being civil so that no authorities have to worry about how much of a threat you are?

I know right now people are scared and angry and paranoid and whatnot and therefore aren't exactly thinking with a great deal of clarity, and that's why I think the laws we do have are so important because they force us to not do anything too rash right now. I guess a problem is that any existing bills can be pushed through easily right now because of overwhelming support for defense. Like, a bill's already gone through allowing Internet surveillance without a warrant. Stuff like that. Scary how quickly people give up what others before them had fought so hard to gain in the first place.

Talk all you want about how safe the US is. As we've seen, one event can change a whole mentality. But that can come after defense cuts have been made, and so on. We're NOT completely safe, and we DO need to beef up our security, and we DO need to start taking terrorism seriously as a major concern for a peaceful 21st century.

And don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to take away from the main focus, digging up lower Manhattan and also finding the culprits. I believe in sharp, quick force against terrorists. I do not go for reconcilation. Doesn't work with such highly motivated terrorist groups, in my opinion. Perhaps it may sway organizations that claim to just want a stable place to live in, like (if you will) the Palestinians. But some terrorist groups are hell-bent on destruction.

So I've heard a lot of viewpoints and many are bad, some are good, but comparing them is another Soapbox entirely. I just wanted to share those two stories with you.


 
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