See the emphasis?
AS WE KNOW IT.
How do we know it?
There's a stagnant United States. There are millions of people whose sole ambition in life is to die rich. There are millions who consider themselves immortal, immune, untouchable.
At least, there were, a little over twelve hours ago.
Opinions are currently very very vague on the number of deaths - I've heard numbers from 5,000 to 50,000. The saner people are saying 50,000 injuries, at most 10,000 deaths, so those are the numbers I'll go with.
Okay. A little digging on Google yields the figure of a little under 42,000 deaths due to car crashes last year, and over 3.2 MILLION injuries.
I hate to say this, but 10,000 deaths really isn't all that much. We're not even talking one percent of the US. I don't even think we're talking one percent of one percent of the US.
Now, before I get people flaming me saying "I knew someone who died in that" - I don't know where my father is. He's in New York somewhere. I'm almost certain he's alright, because I don't know *what* he'd be doing in the World Trade Towers. So's my uncle and two cousins, although I don't know what they'd be doing there either. But I don't actually *know* that they're all right.
Now - take a look at what this incident has done to the US culture. Everywhere I look there are people discussing this - there are people sad at this, or angry at this, and basically saying "hey, hold on, what are we doing that caused this to happen? Why didn't we stop it? Who did it in the first place?"
Yeah, that's right, we've united.
Okay. So there's a social benefit. What else? I'm sure everyone has noticed we're in a recession. Well, want to know a surefire solution for getting *out* of a recession? Start a war. Wars cause economic booms. Fact of life. How about research? Just how fast will research go with modern computers *and* war-level funding? Research is a *good* thing. Even if it's war-related.
Yes, this is terrible, and I wish it hadn't happened. But. The US certainly wasn't doing anything noteworthy before this. Is there anyone out there who could honestly say "I bet everything's going to be wonderful in ten years"? Corporations were basically taking over, human rights were vanishing . . . that stops in war. If it's us vs. them, nobody's going to start trying to break "us" up for their own power.
In some ways, a war is probably the best thing that could happen to us right now. Especially if you consider how little damage this attack did. It knocked down two big buildings and did a little damage to two more. And killed a few thousand people.
Ever thought what it would take to get a nuke into NY or DC? Not a whole lot. I've thought of three ways to get a nuke from a DIFFERENT CONTINENT into NY or DC, pretty flawlessly. All you'd need is a leak-proof organization. Which it seems we've proved pretty conclusively is possible.
Think about this a second. A NUKE. In a major city. Ten thousand people is *nothing* compared to that.
I suppose this seems really cold . . . saying "it's all right that those ten thousand people died, plus however many will die in the future, because it'll make life better for the rest of us." But . . . *shrug* what else can you say? Some people look at an equation like that and refuse to calculate it. They say you can't make the comparison because you can't count human lives like that. Well, guess what - sometimes you have to. If a general had a chance to win a war and save a country by sacrificing a dozen troops, and he didn't take it, *that* would be a mistake. Because by refusing to make the choice, you're letting the choice be made for you.
We've lost ten thousand people. Ten thousand people with hopes and dreams and lives of their own. And there are probably millions upon millions who are hurt, emotionally if not physically. But we have something to *do* now. We're not just sitting back anymore. We've got a cause and a goal.
We've got a future.
It's the end of the world, and I'm looking forward to the new one.