Many of the changes in law limiting civil liberties that were made in the name of 9/11 had been sitting just waiting for the right opportunity.
Yes, you read that right. Opportunity.
Most of us only saw the tragedy and mourned for every life lost or changed forever, but a few saw it as a political opportunity to get the consent of the congress and the public before the numbness wore off.
They suddenly had political capital and they couldn't spend it fast enough.
Because of my experience as a rape survivor and my volunteering as a victim advocate, the 9/11 attacks didn't make me suddenly realize people can and will do evil things. I already knew that and I knew too many people in the world, including Americans, didn't need a jihad to give them a reason kill innocent civilians.
That also made me skeptical of those who demanded my blind trust. To me "I'm simply looking out for your best interests" is one of the scariest phrases invented.
Ted Bundy and the Green River killer are just a couple of the men who killed far too many, far too close to where I was when they were on the loose. Two more killers have been in the news this last week. The first man kept pictures of women suspected of being his victims. And here's the second:
Friends Stunned by Colo. Killer's Crimes
With people like this, I have a hard time saying we Americans are all good and those who share a religion with the 9/11 hijackers are all bad. More importantly, I'd already learned how to live with the constant awareness of my own vulnerability.
Browne said he shot some of his victims and strangled others, in one case with a pair of leather shoelaces. He knocked out one woman with ether, then used an ice pick on her. He put a rag soaked in ant killer over another victim's face and stabbed her nearly 30 times with a screwdriver. Colorado authorities said Browne, 53, claimed to have committed the killings between 1970 and his arrest in 1995. Investigators so far have been able to corroborate Browne's claims in six slayings three in Louisiana, two in Texas and one in Arkansas, Colorado authorities said.
Court papers paint a picture of a predator who loathed women and thought he was justified in killing them because they were cheating on their husbands and boyfriends in many cases, with him. Browne, who has been married six times, said he has been disappointed with women his whole life. "Women are unfaithful, they screw around a lot, they cheat and they are not of the highest moral value," he told investigators. Browne apparently had at least one close female friend in Woods, now 50. Woods said she never saw a violent side in Browne, who lived around the corner from her in the 1980s. Woods said she remembered Browne as funny and caring, but with one strange habit: without warning, he would look deep into her eyes, and declare, "You're my friend."
"He always said it that way. It was so weird," Woods said.
Life outside of the bubble might be scary, but we can learn to live there without a constant sense of paranoia. We can learn to have compassion for those who at first glance seem no different than cold-blooded murderers and who seem to have nothing in common with good people like us.
We don't have to react to the shock of what we see outside the bubble with a desire to get those we fear before one of them can get us.
But just think of what would happen to innocent American men if we women started practicing pre-emptive self-defense against any stranger who takes our picture or against any man we know who looks into our eyes and tells us, "You're my friend."
Living In A Post 9/11 World Means Living Outside The Bubble was written and first posted on the blogathon against torture to help raise money for Amnesty International USA.
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