Monday, April 24, 2006

Entry 3225 Fear of Flying

Ahhh yes, flying. How else to quickly traverse great distances?

Well, I would rather have root canals done to every tooth on an entire side of my face than travel that way.

Hey I'm a high-tech geek...I've said it before and I'll say it again. And I'm also a big science-fiction guy. I embrace technology--I realize that in order to explore the stars we had to have airplane flight. And I've heard all the arguments about how safe it is...more people die in car accidents in one day than in one month of air travel, or something like that.

Yeah, whatever. But when I see all the debris strewn about on the Evening News when one wasn't so safe, well....

I mean, let's face it...planes are heavier than air. Cartoon characters might magically hang in air for a few seconds after running off a cliff or when the jetpack or rocket they're riding runs out of fuel, but the laws of physics have always been mysteriously toothless where 'toons are concerned. Gravity is at its most merciless where huge heavy objects are concerned; and when my car runs out of fuel I pretty much...drift off harmlessly to the side of the road.

So these have always been arguments against air travel...but now there's a whole 'nother reason to have a fear of flying, and it goes like this: September 11, 2001. Ever since that horribly tragic day that changed all our lives (and our way of life) forever, the question has always been not so much where, but when? How do you know that any one or more of your fellow travelers on your plane there aren't terrorists-in-hiding, people who secretly carry a death wish toward Western society in general and Americans in particular?"It couldn't happen again...we're too cautious now." Yeah, well 99% of Americans didn't think it could happen the first time either.

Believe me, if you find yourself in that situation, the best thing you can hope for is a fate like those tragic but unselfish and courageous heroes of Flight 93...whose hijacked plane plowed up acres of real estate near Shanksville, PA; saving the US Capitol (according to Al-Qaeda, who referred to it as "The Faculty of Law") from a similarly fiery World Trade Center scenario.

"So...Mister So-Called Wise Writer...what are we to do? Never fly again...or fly in terror, our hearts in our throats; our knuckles white with fear?"

That, my friends, is exactly what they WANT us to do! That's why they're called TERRORists.

The nation that gave us much of what we are today has been through more than this the First and Second World War, in the Irish Republican Army attacks. The British have a view that perhaps we should learn and adopt... .

No, we cannot give up our way of life. How would we vacation (especially with the cost of gasoline what it is)? How would we be able to conduct business in our corporate world?

How could I now sit here in Greenfield, IN...outside in the sun by the pool, drinking 7&7s and smoking a cigar, listening to Van Morrison on this here iPaq whilst I type these words? 

In the late afternoon of 9/11 while watching CNN I was reminded of words made famous by history...words that I kept thinking about over and over...words that have since been used by many in the same way I thought of them then....

When the bombing of Pearl Harbor was complete, an aide came to Japanese Admiral Yamamoto's room to rouse him from sleep and inform him that the attack was an apparent success. Yamamoto thought a moment, then said "I fear we have awakened a sleeping giant, and filled him with a terrible resolve."

Those words ring oh so true today. We must be that Sleeping Giant...we must find within ourselves that Terrible Resolve.

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