Fool Community Reacts to Terrorism

Rex Moore collected a number of viewpoints on yesterday's terrorist attacks from our discussion boards. While emotions are running hot, cries to resist blanket judgment of all Islamic adherents, to bring the offenders swiftly to justice, and to remember those who perished in heroism, resonated especially loudly.

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By Rex Moore (TMF Orangeblood)
September 12, 2001

As yesterday's tragic events unfolded, people the world over experienced a broad range of emotions ranging from anger to grief to patriotism. Thousand of messages hit our discussion boards, many of them poignant and moving.

As expected, there was anger and calls for revenge. Some, however, reminded us not to make dangerous generalizations as American authorities look toward Islamic groups for suspects. "There are crazies in every society," said angello. "That is no reason to condemn a whole nationality." seansan concurred: "In the days and weeks that follow, many accusations will be raised. In our despair at the devastation of what has happened, I pray we do not allow racial/religious hatred to play a part."

There was little disagreement that swift justice is called for once the responsible parties are found. "As a New Yorker and an infantryman in the United States Marine Corps," wrote dummarine, "my response to the mass murder committed this morning was simple and emotional, 'I want blood for this'. After calming down a little bit and confirming that my family is safe, I'm trying to think about things more clearly. Unfortunately, I can't see a plausible answer except severe military retaliation."

Others spoke of those confronted with unimaginable situations, many who may have reached deep within themselves to save countless lives. In a post titled "Heroes in Pennsylvania," mjkingmd realized "it is very likely that the individuals aboard the flight that went down in Pennsylvania caused the terrorist's intent to not be carried out."

Relaying a television report, another post told of a mobile phone conversation from that same flight during which a man told his wife he and others were planning to rush the cabin and confront the terrorists. "He told his wife that he loved her and the kids and that he was going to die. That was the plane that crashed in Pittsburgh," said vikingsguy. "No greater gift can a man give," he added, "than to lay down his life for another... Walk with God, you brave men."

Some heartening messages came from those abroad, offering fellow Fools in America support. "These events have touched everyone in this global village," said Demosthenes, a self-described Norwegian immigrant in Australia. "The soulless cowards responsible, those who financed them, trained them and harboured them, have been condemned by free men and women everywhere." Added csdb: "Please take comfort that we French people are with you in these terrible moments!"

Like many others, BigMoneyJim groped for a way to help. After waiting in line for hours, he donated blood, which he said he hadn't done in 12 years. "The next thing I'll do," he said, "is to be as productive at work as possible to do my tiny, tiny part to help keep this economy moving." Employed by an airfreight company, he promised to "work extra hours for free to help overcome my company's setbacks from this event."

In nearly all of the posts, a strong sense of resolve shone through. "I'm angry, I'm hurt, and I'm frustrated beyond belief with a feeling of helplessness," said kirakat, "but neither my psyche nor the psyche of this country has been destroyed." Others agreed: "I am an American. I have never been more proud to be an American," said divnfool to the attackers. "Today we have reacted with personal and individual strength to your puny attempts to frighten us.... Our citizens will continue to work, travel, and pursue our own lives every day, in spite of your efforts."

We'll leave the final words to kirakat: "Flags around the country are being flown at half-staff. If you have a flag, fly it. Be proud. We're Americans. We will survive. And those whose seek to destroy us will fail."

To share your thoughts, visit the Current Events discussion board.

Rex Moore is proud to be an American. The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.

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