In Memorium

September 11, 2001

On the morning of September 11, 2001, an anonymous amateur photographer began posting on the Internet photographs he was taking of the horror that was unfolding before his eyes.  This photographer released the photos into the public domain, believing that the benefit to the public outweighed his exclusive rights to his creations.  The photo above is just one of the many he/she posted at the time.

There are many thoughts and emotions that run through my mind as I contemplate the events of 9/11/2001, and the subsequent actions that these events have led us to, but there is one in particular that I will comment about on this rural-oriented blog.  And the thought that comes to mind is the profound difference in the fear mindset that must be occurring between residents of highly populated metropolitan areas, such as the photographer above, who obviously lives in the New York area, and residents in sparsely populated areas, such as myself.

The anonymous photographer above witnessed the initial moments of the World Trade Center catastrophe from the window of his residence.  Grabbing his camera, he began taking pictures of what he was seeing.  He felt compelled to leave the safety of his home, and with camera in hand, began a photographic journey into the heart of lower Manhattan Island.  As I contemplate this, I cannot help but wonder if this person re-lives all of those awful, gut-wrenching pangs he must have felt on that day, each and every time he looks out the window, every time he walks down those streets, and every time he commutes into the city from his home.

I would imagine that people such as this photographer, who live in densely populated areas, encountering locations and situations where the threat of terrorist events are very real, must have a constant awareness (even if only in the back of their minds) that they are in a potentially risky environment.  Particularly when the public is bombarded by the near constant reminders that terrorism exists, and surrounded by some politicians who would exploit that fact to their own political ends, it seems that a person who lives in a “likely” terrorist attack setting might tend to become fixated on the potential threats around them.  At the extreme, they may become immobilized by the fear of becoming a victim in a future attack.

Living in a sparsely populated rural area does not seem to invoke the same type of fears that might flourish in an urban environment.  Terrorism relies on mass, random killing to promote the fear it seeks to create.  And by definition, a sparse population generally presents little opportunity for the “mass” portion of the definition to emerge.  What likely target exists in a hamlet where the sign at the edge of town reads “Population – 735?”  None, I would surmise.  Therefore, those who live in these areas, who travel the back roads and conduct their business in one-horse towns have little to remind them of terrorist activities on a day-to-day basis.

I suspect few, if any, rural people are paralyzed in their fear of terrorist attacks, while many urban dwellers might be.  Perhaps urbanites should consider the possibility of frequent “therapeutic” visits to bucolic rural areas, in order to relieve the pent-up stress caused by the constant reminders of their vulnerability.  And perhaps rural folk might consider an occasional foray into the “belly of the beast,” so as not to forget that there is still a very real threat to many people out there.

4 thoughts on “In Memorium

  1. The homegrown crime rate in some of our urban centers is scarier than the terrorists. We seem to be quite good at hurting each other without any help from foreign terrorists.


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