Saturday, September 13, 2003

The Falling Man

Barry of Inn of the Last Home was struck by a post on Instapundit discussing Glenns decision to post and later remove the dramatic and disturbing picture by Richard Drew called The Falling Man. Instapundit later updated that post with reader comments.

Barry wrote:
I don't care what side you're on, if you're far left, far right, Democrat, Republican, northerner, southerner, LA or NYC, pro-war or anti-war, there's not a single American - at home or abroad - who has "forgotten the horror of that day".
In his comments, I wrote:
Barry, I don't think he meant forgot the event so much as he meant the visceral horror of watching it. I missed the actual events, as I was at work until dinnertime and we couldn't stop for the tv, but I remember in the first days that they showed *everything* but the bodies from the Towers hitting the ground. It was all live, unedited, and gruesome.

Since, the mass media have definitely glossed over the gruesome part, as they are wont to do. At first, it was to not stir up the normal human desire for retribution, then it was for the more highminded "sensitive sensibilities" hogwash. But it's true that they don't show most of the terrible parts any more.

That's part of the usual mass media effort to take the real and make it symbolic, to make it malleable to manipulation and distortion. To take the visceral anger that wants to strike and make it a foggy "we oughta do something."
I stand by that, obviously, and now there's an Esquire story that backs me up, using that very picture as its point.

Look at how little coverage there was on major media television this past Thursday. Not within the standard news shows, but in specials during the day. Primetime was largely untouched, except for the usual "Dateline" special that shoe-horned 9-11 into its standard template for all sad stories. I sympathise with those who think we are just poking and scratching at a healing wound and would like to leave it alone for a while.

But this is war. Men and women are, every day, out there around the world fighting, in our name, against the forces that set 9-11 on us. They are dying too. We must remember why they are there, and with the ferocity of that day fresh in our minds. The terrorists are even now planning more and worse attacks against us and our friends. We cannot slacken our vigilance; it is the price for our freedom, as we have relearned at great cost.

Offer me your hand and I'll reach out with mine. Punch me with that hand and I'll make sure you can never punch me again. If we don't keep that in mind all the time, we will grow complacent; we will entertain thoughts of backing off; we will place present friends and future generations at risk.

This is not like an assault, where we can turn things over to the cops and retreat to the security of our home and family. There are no cops; we must protect ourselves. The assailant is still out there, watching and planning for the next attack. Our home isn't safe as we allow the assailant and all his associates free entrance and movement. Even some of our supposed friends are encouraging us to back off and think of others before our own injuries!

Well, no. I say keep it fresh and keep the horror always there. The alternative leads to ruin.

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