About Two Weeks From Dying

By now, most people have heard about the string of bombs that went off in London’s subway system.
In a strange way, that’s the closest I’ve come to dying.

I’ve ducked a few gunshots. At the Bayou Classic a few years ago, I was close enough to a shooting that I saw the smoke from the barrel of the burner. I saw a girl I went to college with cry hysterically after seeing a stranger perish on the sidewalk. She said she saw the shooter ask someone to hold his cigarette while he blew another man away.
But that proximity didn’t make it feel like I was close to dying. That dude was shooting someone in particular, and he didn’t miss. This thing in London was an attempt to kill whomever was around.
A couple of weeks ago, I was around.
And at that time, I would be on the train.
I’m a weirdo that likes to watch. I find it interesting to see people as they go about their days, how they behave in the anonymity of a big city. On trains, you see people as they try to make sense of whatever’s on their minds. You see whether or not strangers make them anxious. At nine in the morning, you see them as they prepare to provide for themselves, as they do what most of us hate to do but must because of our desires to eat and how we are required, sometimes, to put food in the stomachs of others.
It’s the essence of life in the Western universe, and it’s something I like to see with my own eyes.
Curiosity would have killed this cat if the G8 were meeting two weeks ago or so.
This cat would have been on the train, being nosy, putting together his own haphazard anthropological study (is that anthropology?).
And a couple of you would have been taking your dark suits to the one hour cleaners.
Who knows if I’ll get closer to death than that?
This is strange for me. 9/11 didn’t hit me because I was three time zones away when it happened, and it sounded too much like some shit from “War of the Worlds.” It was going to take more than a radio broadcast to make me believe. The other thing was that I never have had an attachment to New York City. I hated NY before, and I’d be damned if I got caught wearin gone of those “I (Heart) NY” t-shirts, 9/11 or not. I still don’t allow people to wear Yankees gear in my house.
But it never hit me like that. While the human angle–all that death and dismay–affected me as a human, it wasn’t quite tangible to me. Someone probably thinks I’m heartless for saying something like that, but people die every day, and I don’t weep for them all. I don’t weep for many of them. Shit, I’ve only wept for the loss of a small handful of people in my life. Death is the real tragedy, no matter what brings it about.
But this hit me. This happened where my feet were planted not long ago, and they were planted there chronologically pretty randomly. Start the MJ trial two weeks later, and I’m probably dead.
That’s spooky.
The politics of this remain…something else. It’s an impossible situation for Britain just like 9/11 was impossible for the US. Nation states are equipped to do battle with each other, not with people. So what does Britain do about this? If this was orchestrated by one bin Laden, what do they do? They’ve been trying to find him for four years.
And, Silky Johnson says Osama taught him yoga. Buc Nasty accused him of pumping his gas.
(Perhaps that was poor taste. I like Chappelle way too much.)
Another ugly international situation will ensue. I’m very curious to see what the British will do as a result. Right outside Trafalgar Square, where people rejoiced over getting the Olympics, one would find this display when I was there.

And that’s about a third of the spread. How will those people react? Will they become gung-ho patriots like Americans did? You know, before we remembered that we don’t like each other.
Will this help Tony Blair, who has become what can most politely be described as a Dubya sycophant?
How many more people are going to die?
What would I do in the same situation…if I bought into the concept of having allegiance to a nation state?
Assuming this is bin Laden, what would I do to get what I want if everything bordering decency has failed miserably?
And what if I was on the train?
Oh shit, I hope Corren wasn’t. Gotta make a call.

7 thoughts on “About Two Weeks From Dying

  1. I’m absolutely terrified of the emotional response this is bound to elicit.
    I wish everybody, right and left, terrorists too, would just stop.

  2. I don’t think we’ll see the emoitonal response you’re worried about. The UK is already in the war(s) knee deep, what else are they gonna do? Probably see a few extra airstrikes on expected camps now and then, and maybe the Pakistani’s will let us look in a few extra places, and that’s about it. When something similar happened in Spain, no one went all THAT crazy, and it was same shit different day in pretty short order.

  3. But…what if it comes out (or is fabricated) that Iran had something to do with this?
    I’m not nearly as worried about the British response as I am about W’s. He’s only popular and given carte blanche when the American people feel as if they are in danger.

  4. another side to this is that Londoners are far more used to terrorists bombings than Americans ever have been because of the IRA. You’d expect a much larger response from suicide bombers in the US than in Israel. I’m finding myself agreeing with Kirk here, given Britain’s history of terrorist of activity (despite the terrorists not being Al Qaeda), the attacks in Spain, and Britain’s current involvement in the war on terror already.
    I hope your friend is ok…

  5. I hope you and Kirk are right.
    I just have a sneaking suspicion that somehow Iran is going to be blamed for this, right or wrong (lies have happened before). There are already questions about whether or not their newly-elected president was one of the captors 25 years ago during the hostage crisis. Americans as a whole haven’t forgotten that. And then we’ll be right there with Britain because they were with us.
    Honestly, do you really trust W, Cheney and Rove with this?

  6. Hey, I can relate. I was in a little boat off the south of Thailand in the Andaman Sea feeding eagles. I jump on the plane back to the US and next thing I know a freakin’ Tsumani…I was like whoa.

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