Bubblehead America

Terry Garlock's picture

The terrorists watching last week’s financial market turmoil might conclude that if they are sufficiently patient, we will destroy ourselves without their help.

Nevertheless, I’m confident they are eager to trump 9/11. Personally, I felt a bit out of place with all the ceremonial remembrance of 9/11 on the recent anniversary, the symbolic reading of the casualties’ names and ringing of bells, re-emergence of flags everywhere and talking heads on TV summing up for those unable to think for themselves what it all means. On my own street, mine was one of the houses without a flag affixed to my mailbox post.

But don’t mistake my attitude for any lack of patriotism; I just have an aversion to ceremony. I didn’t attend either of my two college graduation ceremonies – just mail the diploma, thank you. I skip ceremony at every opportunity, just a personal quirk that impedes my appreciation for symbolic displays.

I suppose one of the things those ceremonies can do is remind us that numbers don’t tell the story. There were 2,954 9/11 casualties, not counting the 19 highjackers who don’t deserve to be counted, but each one was someone’s son or daughter, husband or wife, mother or father, sister or brother.

I yell irrationally at my TV when talking heads refer to 9/11 as a “tragedy,” as if I could get it through their skull that a tragedy is a horrific accident but 9/11 was an “atrocity,” a vicious attack by lunatics who have been dedicated to our destruction for a long time.

On 9/11 my wife Julie called from her office. I was working at my desk at home and she told me to turn on the TV. Like you, I was transfixed watching the second plane hit the second tower, and my heart broke, just like yours, when people jumped to their deaths and when the towers crumbled.

Before that day was over, I wondered if the events of 9/11 would finally wake up the Bubbleheads in America. I use that term to describe people who have lived their lives under the bubble of protection and plenty in this country, and who believe somehow our way of life is the natural order of things, that the finely-tuned balance of civilization they enjoy is their birthright.

Bubbleheads have no clue that our society is fragile, built and defended at great cost, but can be turned on its head in an instant. Bubbleheads have trouble believing there are truly evil people, those who cannot be convinced to get along by holding hands in a circle and singing a few verses of Kumbaya, people who would gladly cut our children’s throats and praise Allah as their lifeblood seeped into the dirt.

Bubbleheads don’t serve in our military, oblivious to what it takes to protect our country; that’s someone else’s job. Bubbleheads take for granted that the lights come on when we flip a switch, the telephone lines always work, clean water always comes out of our taps and we can always buy gas for our cars even if the price is too high, oblivious to the fact the fragile layers of our world work only because we live in peaceful cooperation with one another.

Bubbleheads don’t understand our civilized comfort could be shattered by serious interruption of foreign oil, biological attack that overwhelmed our health care system, attacks on our electrical infrastructure or a hundred other possibilities.

Think for a few minutes how our lives would be changed if electrical service were down in major cities for an extended period: no way to pump gas into your car, nothing but canned goods at the store until the shelves are empty even if they remained open and accepted cash, no new deliveries because factories are down, no way to get to work but the office is closed, commerce is stopped and they can’t print your paycheck but the mail doesn’t run to deliver it anyway and the banks are closed.

Pretty soon your cash is gone, even cell phones don’t work, the water tap is dry, the refrigerator is empty and toilets don’t flush because nobody is at work making the interlocking pieces of our civilization function, and there is no newspaper or TV to keep us informed.

How long before bottled water is more precious than greenbacks? How long before the matches run out and you have to learn to make a fire with two sticks?

I’m not trying to be alarmist, just pointing out the American bubble of protection and plenty is breakable, not the natural order of things, and many of us have long wondered when Bubblehead America would wake up to the fact our way of life is a target. Islamic lunatics have long been at war with us whether we recognize it or not. Consider just a selected few events prior to 9/11:

April 1983: 17 dead at the U.S. Embassy in Beirut. October 1983: 241 dead at the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut. December 1983: 5 dead at the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait. April 1984: 18 dead near a U.S. airbase in Spain. September 1984: 16 dead at the U.S. Embassy in Beirut. December 1984: 2 dead on a plane hijacked to Tehran. June 1985: 1 killed on a plane hijacked to Beirut. December 1988: 270 killed in Pan Am flight 103 at Lockerbie, Scotland. January 1990: an Egyptian freethinker killed in Tucson, Ariz. November 1990: a Jewish leader killed in New York. January 1993: two CIA staff killed outside agency headquarters in Langley, Va. February 1993: 6 people killed at the World Trade Center. August 1998: 224 dead at the American Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. October 1999: 217 passengers killed on an EgyptAir flight near New York City. October 2000: 17 dead on the USS Cole in Yemen.

These are just a few high points; anyone willing to do their homework will find that terror attacks since the 1960s worldwide, nearly all of them by Islamic nut-cases make a very long list.

9/11 was one small penetration of our bubble. Many attacks have been interdicted since then while some Bubbleheads hold their eyes closed tightly and, taking their lead from our media, point the finger of blame at their primary enemies, George Bush and Dick Cheney, while making excuses for the Islamic fanatics plotting our destruction. But don’t get me started on politics.

In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, when we all felt unified and American flags flew everywhere, I wondered, “How long will it last? How long until America nods slowly back to sleep in the warm fuzzy comfort under the bubble?”

I was reminded then, just as I was this Sept. 11, of the words of Adlai Stevenson, who said true patriotism is “... not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime.” I wonder how many Americans would pass that test?

Even during the post-9/11 patriotic frenzy, I knew we were in trouble when our president frequently cautioned America that Islam is a religion of peace. Muslims in America worried publicly about profiling but somehow stopped short of condemning the attackers and committing to defend America against Islamic terrorists.

I knew we were in bigger trouble when Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta said the U.S. would not profile Middle-Eastern young men at airports, even though Middle-Eastern young men are the source of nearly all terrorist acts. Profiling, when done properly, is just common sense.

If an innocent black man is pulled over and questioned in a high-crime part of town where 90 percent of crimes are committed by black men, should he be angry?

Well, yes, but he should be angry at those who commit the crimes, not at the police who use their head.

But at our nation’s airports since 9/11, we have practiced institutionalized stupidity as we select passengers for extra scrutiny at random, frisking grandma while ignoring Mohammed, willfully blind but congratulating ourselves on American sensitivity. If there were a manual on national suicide, surely this would be one of the key chapters.

We are at war with Islamic lunatics even though so much of America is asleep to that fact. That is what concerns me daily, and perhaps you will forgive me if I don’t get motivated by ceremonies or memorials when an anniversary date rolls around.

Meanwhile, I think I hear the rumble of snoring, the sound of half my country lulled back to sleep, relaxed and reassured that the bubble they were born to will provide everlasting protection.

God help us all.

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Submitted by Nitpickers on Wed, 09/24/2008 - 3:05pm.

I'm not sure what you mean! Are you saying that since we had an attack on the twin towers and that there are a lot of terrorists who don't like us, more now since the war, that we should not enjoy ourselves, ever?
Just what is it you want us to do that you don't want George Bush to do? If you wanted him to do it, you would have written to him--not me!

Are we to take turns guarding Lake Peachtree every 100 feet with whatever deer rifle or pistol we have? It would take us all to go around the lakes every day. What about the electrical sub-stations?

I don't know how to guard the TV stations, radio stations, newspapers, and the Internet! Do you?

How big must our army be? 20 million, maybe?

Should we be arresting everybody we see who is "suspicious" and waterboarding them?

Are we, the citizens, going to have to audit the banks ourselves to save our economy? If not who is responsible?

You are like Limbaugh, Hannity, the blonde and the brunette witches,
You peddle impossibilities on the way to riches!

Also, a lot of Positivity about negative things helps, always.

Submitted by Arf on Wed, 09/24/2008 - 11:06am.

I think that we are currently experiencing an example of just what can happen and how easily. Fayette County ran out of gas the other day and is still having problems. Supposedly, this was because several oil refineries concentrated in one part of the country were crippled by hurricanes in their area.

If oil refineries in Texas can be impacted so that it we can’t get around in Fayette County, Georgia, just how vulnerable are we? I think that is a wake-up call. Garlock is right. How easy would it be for someone with evil motives to take out our electrical power sources, or infiltrate our water or…on and on. Not to be an alarmist, but most of us just keep our heads in the sand as if nothing could go wrong that would disrupt our way of life.

I’m now wondering if it wouldn’t be a fairly easy plan to bring this entire country to a halt with little effort. If terrorists blew up a couple of oil refineries in Texas, it appears that would pretty much bring a large section of the country to a halt. And – no gas, no work, no food, no workers, no…

Grim thoughts, Bubbleheads.

sniffles5's picture
Submitted by sniffles5 on Wed, 09/24/2008 - 9:44am.

So Terry Garlock believes that having the the police investigate suspects based on the color of their skin is an example of police using their head?

Let's hope for Bubblehead Garlock's sake that there is no Oriental crime spree in Fayette anytime soon...I'd hate to see his adopted Chinese daughter picked up in the ensuing police dragnet.

Mike King's picture
Submitted by Mike King on Wed, 09/24/2008 - 10:16am.

Obviously Sniffles, should some evening you lose your car keys your logic would tend to only have you search where the light is best. Your argument against racial profiling can certainly be defended, but not by character assasination.
But then, you are a Democrat, proud of it, and quite narrow minded.

Submitted by Nitpickers on Wed, 09/24/2008 - 12:38pm.

When some people don't have much character, it is easy to assassinate what little is left.
I don't even think we know what that is anymore!

Someone rich I suppose, or powerful. Or Army.

sniffles5's picture
Submitted by sniffles5 on Wed, 09/24/2008 - 10:28am.

Call me narrow minded if you like, but I happen to believe in something called the United States Constitution and it's antiquated notion prohibiting unreasonable search and seizure.

I happen to believe that rounding up suspects based on the color of their skin is contrary to both the law and the intent of that quaint document.

Garlock feels otherwise. He has the same right as I do to express his opinion. I'm exercising my right to disagree with him.

Singling out minorities for "special" police interrogation is, quite frankly, Un-American.

Put another way, if a grocery store was to be robbed by 2 white guys, would the police be well-served by rounding up every single white male in a 5 block radius?

Mike King's picture
Submitted by Mike King on Wed, 09/24/2008 - 10:40am.

it still doesn't make sense not to narrow that search for those dastardly two white guys you mention to only white guys. Or would you consider it more constitutionally correct to include all ethnicities in this search when there is no doubt as to the culprit's profile?

Do you favor "busing" some of the less prevalent ethnic groups into the area so that all would be represented prior to conducting the search?

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