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09.10.2010 – That Day – Where I was on September 11th, 2001

September 10, 2010 1 comment

 

It was a beautiful, clear, crisp late-summer morning in mid-September. There was not a cloud in the sky and the sunshine seemed particularly bright and warm. I was busy going about my usual routine in the computer engineering lab at work. The typical hustle and bustle of the office was serving its usual purpose of creating just the right amount of white-noise to break the deafening silence that the lab could be immersed in.

My coworker, who would frequently drop odd-ball comments at me while passing my desk, had a particularly interesting thing to say this day. It was about 8:50 am when he walked by and said ‘A plane just crashed into the World Trade Center’. Of course, a statement like that awoke me from my working stupor, and I immediately had the picture of a small single-engine private plane that had wandered off-course hitting the side of the building. So I asked him (he’s a pilot by the way), “Was it a Cessna?” His response was chilling… “No, it was a jetliner”!

The image in my head rapidly changed. What? A Jetliner? How could that happen? Had it had engine trouble or hydraulic failure? What could possibly have lead to a plane hitting such a populated place? 

At that time, our network operations center had a huge wall of video screens for monitoring the network. Several of the screens, though, would have news stations on all the time. So, I locked down my PC and headed up there to see what was going on. The first tower already had a large trail of smoke coming out of it. I watched in amazement, still not believing what I was seeing. It was probably about 5 minutes later, when I watched in real time as the 2nd plane hit the other tower. I became terrified. What was going on?

After standing and watching in amazement as both towers eventually came tumbling down, and the pentagon was hit, I heard the news of a 4th plane missing and suspected to be over Pennsylvania. The terror was officially hitting close to home, I thought. I left work. I didn’t say a word to anyone, I just left work. All I could think about was getting home to my girls. Who knew what else was going to happen. How many more attacks were about to take place.

During the seemingly eternal ride home, I found myself looking towards the skies, wondering if the next plane I saw was going to come crashing down here. Obviously, that did not happen, but I had never experienced anything like that in my life, so I didn’t know how to process it all. The fear was real. It was intense.

I remember, later that evening, after spending the whole day watching the horror on the news, sitting outside and listening. For the first time that I could remember in my life, there was no sound of planes flying over. It was creepy and surreal.

September 11th, 2001 changed a lot of things in my mind. It started me on a very difficult journey of self-discovery and introspection. It was a journey which wound its way through some very dark valleys over the following several years. But, once I found my way through the darkness, I feel I’m a better person for it. I would much rather; of course, it never had to have happened that way. I will never forget 9/11, as should none of us.

02.19.2010 – Malaysian Women Caned for Having Sex

February 19, 2010 1 comment

According to an article in the NY times, 3 women in Malaysia were found guilty of ‘extramarital’ sex and punished by caning.

The women had been convicted in an Islamic Shariah court of having sex outside of marriage, according to a Home Ministry official. Each received four to six strokes of a rattan cane, the official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to make public statements.

I just don’t get it.

I just don’t get why these groups think they have a right to control what consenting adults do. And where’s the punishment for the MEN who were involved in the ‘extramarital sex’? The double-standard is really mind-numbing. When are these societies going to pull themselves out of the dark-ages and start to realize that it’s the 21st century? The fallout for ‘extra-marital’ affairs should be dealt with between the people directly involved. No government or religious organization should have any right to be involved except in strictly contract-based issues such as divorce.

All I can hope for is that in my lifetime we see the end (or at least a massive decrease) of incidents like this. However, things like this severely test my ability to be hopeful.

02.03.2010 – W. T. F?!?!? – Rape Victim Receives 101 Lashes for becoming pregnant!

Seriously? WTF! What the FUCK is this world coming to when the VICTIM of a rape is the one punished. I mean, I realize that this sort of thing has been going on for millenia, but c’mon…it’s two-thousand-freaking-TEN! Can’t we all agree that it’s time to move past these barbaric laws that are based on the superstitions writen down by uneducated sheppards living in the bronze age? I guess not!

According to the article:

Her rapist was pardoned by the elders.


So basically, the victim takes the entire fall for the rape. What would have happened if she had fought off the rapist? Death penalty for her? It is truly sad that stuff like this still happens in our world.

(Thanks to Unreasonable Faith for the link)

08.05.2009 – A Man Goes on Shooting Spree at Local Gym

Last night around 8:15 pm a man walked into a local LA Fitness center and started shooting. When the dust settled, 3 women are dead, the shooter is dead, and over a dozen are injured in various degrees.

My step-father happened to be at a store in the same strip mall as the shootings occurred. Obviously, we were worried about him, but in the end he was fine.

It has come out that the perpetrator was a 48 year old, single white male who, as it turns out, was rejected by women throughout his entire life. He was an, obviously, deeply disturbed individual as attested to in his person blog…

http://www.wpxi.com/news/20289819/detail.html (his website was taken down, so this is a link to the transcript of the blog) (8.6.2009- it seems his website is back up…my guess is it crashed from excessive traffic. here’s the direct link, if it doesn’t work, then the one above should… http://georgesodini.com/20090804.htm)

I read this whole thing this morning. While it certainly angers me, it also deeply saddens me and makes me wonder how an entire society could reject a man so entirely as to drive him to this kind of act. It just doesn’t seem right. Obviously, it seems that the man didn’t take the steps that he should have to get help and fix the problems in his own brain, but I could imagine that a mentally sick person may not be able to identify that what they are doing is wrong. It’s all very deep and hard to wrap my head around.

I guess I just need to write about this and try to make some sense of it (even though there is probably no way to ever make sense of such an awful thing). It’s just deeply sad and deeply disturbing.

My heart and thoughts go out to all the families and friends of the victims. And maybe through reading the thoughts of this man, we might make steps towards being able identify the warning signs, and possibly be able to head off events like this in the future. I’m sure that in a world of over 6 billion people, we are probably never going to be able to completely eradicate this type of thing, but if we can stop ONE as a result, that to me, is a step in the right direction.

 

-eoe-