10 years ago, at 8:46 am I was asleep in bed. When a friend called me at 8:50 and told me that an airplane had crashed into the World Trade Center, I didn't believe him, until I turned on the TV. At first I watched with the impression that it was just an accident - the firefighter in me analyzing what would have to be done to mount a rescue and extinguish the flames.
Seventeen minutes after the first plane impacted the North Tower, a second plane hit the South Tower. I sat there, watching in disbelief as I knew it was next to impossible for two planes to accidentally crash into buildings that close together, but it was even harder to comprehend that someone would do that on purpose.
Thirty-four minutes later, news came of a third plane, this one having crashed into the Pentagon in Washington, DC. At this point I knew it was some kind of sick attack. Turning our own transportation infrastructure against us.
Less then a half hour after all three attacks, news came of a fourth plane, crashed in a field in Rural Pennsylvania. At the time, no one knew if it was connected to the other three, but it only made sense that it would be.
Over the hours following, I didn't do anything but watch the news coverage on TV. I moved my small TV out of the bedroom so I could watch two channels at once in the living room. I logged onto the internet and scoured the news websites for information. I guess I was still in shock, and didn't believe that it had actually happened. I think I was looking for some proof that it hadn't.
When the request was received at my volunteer fire company for people to step up and make themselves available for the search and rescue operations, I was one of the first names on the list. We never did get called though.
Now, ten years later, the emotions are still there. The pain of watching thousands of people loose their lives at the hands of a few radical terrorists. But an even deeper pain saddens me. The terrorists attacked us, and our freedom, and we let them win. By instituting security measures that are ineffective at best, constitutional violations at worst, at our airports. We let them win by creating legislation such as the Patriot Act that allowed the abridgment of the 4th Amendment, all in the name of "safety".
I am reminded of something that Benjamin Franklin wrote, 252 years before the attacks: "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." (Written in the Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759)
In the past when I've voiced these opinions, I've largely been vilified, especially when I add the most important part: The government, police, military, etc, cannot protect you. They are there as a reactionary force. Only you can be responsible for your own safety. Learn how to protect yourself, and equip yourself to do so. Stockpile nonperishable food and water if you have the ability to do so. Stockpile ammunition and reloading supplies as well as weapons and weapon parts. And also, stockpile precious metals if you can, as electronic currency is unusable without infrastructure, and paper currency is fiat and worthless.
Why do all this? Because if there ever is a wide-spread attack against our country, as unthinkable as it is (Remember how unthinkable it was that someone would use commercial jets as missiles?), the government will not be there to protect or defend you. On the contrary - the government will need you there to protect your homeland. And only you can take full responsibility for your own safety and well being.