I grew up in Princeton, New Jersey. When I wanted to have fun I went down to the ‘dinky’ station and hopped a train to Penn Station in Manhattan. I’ve always romanticized Manhattan out of all proportion. I love the city in a way only someone who grew up in its orbit can love the city.
On 9/11, I left work in the morning. I came home and turned on CNN. I watched the replays of the towers collapsing for hours. I watched people leaping 100 stories to their deaths. And I was so pissed off I can’t even begin to explain how pissed off I was.
Sometime around 5pm I began to become introspective. I began to think about what the attacks meant, what they were going to turn Americans into. And my anger began to turn to sadness. I found a bottle of scotch and poured myself a 3-finger drink. And I wrote down in a notebook, “We’ll kill half a million Muslims before this is through.”
I didn’t write it because I agreed with it. I wrote it because it was what I felt would happen. But I kept refilling my glass.
And sometime around two in the morning my anger returned. I wrote in my notebook: “Exterminate the Brutes. Nuke Mecca.”
Again, I didn’t write it because I seriously wanted to nuke Mecca. I wrote it because I was so angry that I wanted to express that anger.
But the difference between me, a peaceful person who was extremely hurt by the assault on Manhattan, and Tom Toncredo, is that I have managed to calm down in the intervening 4 years.
“Well, what if you said something like — if this happens in the United States, and we determine that it is the result of extremist, fundamentalist Muslims, you know, you could take out their holy sites,” Tancredo answered.
“You’re talking about bombing Mecca,” Campbell said.
“Yeah,” Tancredo responded.
I make this comparison to help Europeans and others understand the depth of American anger and sadness at 9/11. I make it to show I understand the anger and frustration of the wingnuts in this country. But I had calmed down by 9/12. And the wingnuts still have an unrelenting bloodlust.