October 7, 2002

The Terrorist Amongst Us

What does a terrorist look like? After five days of living amongst someone who gets his kicks from killing and scaring people, I am trying to visualize him: to think about what he really looks like. To see a face when a faceless creature seems so much more powerful.

What does he look like naked, without his high power rifle? What does he see in his mirror? I am looking closely at him, observing every inch from head to feet. And I see him. From farther away than his 600 meter bullets can go. It’s hard, but I see him.

What do victims of terrorism look like? What’s the difference between “justifiable” war and terrorism? Where is the slippery slope? What’s it like to be thought of as a terrorist? Let me ask the families of 9/11. Let me ask the Kurds, Somalis, Palestinians, and Israelis. Let me ask my neighbors.

Montgomery County Police Chief, Charles A. Moose, wants us to “engage [our children], talk to them and explain this mess to them” tonight. And I’m trying to figure out just what to say.

President Bush is preparing to talk to us tonight about another terrorist. Our focus will be on George Bush and Suddam Hussein. But what if we look at the people of Baghdad and we think about terrorists amongst their neighborhoods. What will we see in our mirrors?

It’s a lot to think about. I’m trying to visualize it. And how will I explain this mess to my children tomorrow?

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