On the contrary, I have no idea what the terrorists truly desired to accomplish. However, when an American looks at these acts and interprets them -- specifically, attacking known symbols of American capitalism with the consequences that the economy nose dives (stock market, layoffs, bailouts, etc.) -- then from an American point of view the attacks did succeed.
With respect to overreacting, the steps being taken by our government have removed only a few rights. For many people the rights being taken away probably aren't important to them since they have no intentions of getting in trouble with the law. But I say that revoking habeus corpus is very dangerous. You can now rot in jail without a trial indefinitely for no apparent reason. That means that you can be suspected of a crime and incarcerated without a trial. Witch Hunt, anyone?
Finally, I guess I posted my original story too quickly since one of my points is apparently not very clear:
It didn't have to happen this way.
Perhaps I expect too much from our citizens, especially after reading in Scientific American that 25% of high school graduates can't read. Looking at the situation logically, air travel should not have suffered as greatly as it has. Security was good enough before the attack to get people on the planes, and, if anything, has increased since then. Why are people still reluctant to fly? Because they don't realize that the probability of another similar terrorist attack has been reduced since the last one. The Consumer Confidence Index has plummeted. What could you possibly be doing with your money? Do you honestly think it would be worth something if The Worst(TM) occurred? I can understand perhaps saving a little for a rainy day, but if you quit buying things you'll lose your own job. That's right -- you spending money keeps you employed.
It boils down to the fact that people are just scared. They don't know what's going to happen next. They'll do anything to get that sense of security back. What people don't realize is that security is an illusion. There never was any security, only the probability that everyone would follow the unwritten rules of behavior. The fact that some 6,000 people died is nothing in comparison to the 37,000 who died on the nation's highways last year. Did we have a huge memorial for them? Did movie stars get together and collect money for orphaned children and improve highway saftey? No. Is it that people now realize that planes can actually hit skyscrapers? Probably. But that potentiality has always been there.
What people need to realize is that there are some things that are just beyond their control. There is nothing you can do about fixing the tragedy in New York. The event has happened. All you can do is try to find ways to prevent it. For the average person, this means paying more in taxes to increase airport security. That's it. For the not-so-average person, you can try self-defense classes (to attack hijackers next time) and perhaps registering to become an air marshal. But, once again, this only reduces the probability that you will die in an air disaster, it does not eliminate it.
Let that which does not matter, truly not matter. You can't honestly have a life if you're worried about things that are beyond your control. Consider the possibilites and weigh the risks against the benefits. If more people would do so, I would hazzard a guess that our current situation would not be as bleak as it is.
 Donating blood, money, food and clothing is about it, but does that really change the fact that people are dead and the buildings are collapsed?
 Or, more specifically, "Don't worry about the things you have no control over."
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