What We Lost on 9/11 Was Our Sense of Security, & It Never Came Back. What Took Its Place was Fear.

What We Lost on 9/11 Was Our Sense of Security, & It Never Came Back. What Took Its Place was Fear. September 11, 2015

nyny.001When we awoke on that morning we all knew we were basically safe & sound. When we went to bed, we all knew we were not. It was an illusion to be sure, but until 9/11 Americans really thought we were secure… we were safe & sound.

The most enduring impact of SEP 11 2001 was the loss of any sense of security. It was gone, and it really hasn’t come back.

What’s so incredible is that it happened to everybody, and it happened at exactly the same moment. Our sense of security vanished, and what filled the vacuum was fear.

So much of what has transpired since that day has been as a result of our fear, and our collective attempt to regain that sense of security: 2 wars, the Patriot Act, surveillance, data gathering, drone warfare… for heaven’s sake we created a whole new department of of government called Homeland Security.

The word security has taken on great significance since 9/11.

Earlier this year & heard Brian Zahnd point out that, when you travel the word and visit holy sites, you are often asked to remove your shoes. It’s a sign of reverence. If you visit an ancient Muslim mosque or Hindu Shrine or Buddhist temple, you’ll be asked to remove your shoes. But the only place in America they ask you to take off your shoes is when you’re going thru security.

Security is now holy ground in our society. We will do nearly anything to reestablish the illusion that we are all safe & sound.

We need security, because without it the fear takes over.

Insecurity cause epic problems for the people of God throughout the bible. Insecurity caused Cain to kill his brother Abel. Insecurity caused the people to band together at Babel to build a fortress tower for safety. Insecurity caused Abraham to sleep with his handmaid, Hagar. Insecurity caused some of the Children of Israel to beg Moses to take them back to Egypt. Insecurity caused Israel to beg God for a king to rule over them.

Insecurity makes us fearful and then we act foolishly.

In the scriptures, we find a God who is deeply opposed to any attempt by nations or persons to try & accomplish our own security, because God wants us to look to him for our security. It’s easier said than done, but that’s the gig for the Christian.

On SEP 21, three weeks after the collapse of the twin towers, a benefit concert was held to raise money for families of victims. George Clooney organized it (because who can say no to George Clooney?) Two performances have stuck with me, because they chose songs of lament. Springsteen did, “My City In Ruins,” and Sheryl Crow did “Safe & Sound.” (video below) I think it was the most important thing that happened that night. Crow named the insecurity we all feel when we can’t keep those around us, or even ourselves, safe and sound.

Here’s a great live performance of the song.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Px7-jjkOU9Q
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  • Guthrum

    In the first years after 9-11, this country was united, people were close. Now we are more divided than ever.

  • John Carosella

    We didn’t lose our sense of security after 9-11. It was methodically beaten out of us, by the Dogs of War. We were, in effect, tortured into relinquishing our sanity so we could be manipulated.

    I happened to be in Manhattan on that day. What I saw was not a people scared out of their wits, begging for security. What I saw were strong, sturdy, and stoic Americans determined not to be cowed or shaken. Yes, it was scary. But we could have righted ourselves within weeks or months.

    The whole world was in solidarity with us on 9-12, and for weeks
    afterwards. In that solidarity was a security no military or
    surveillance culture could match. But that didn’t fit the game plan of those who would profit from our fear.

    We (read, The Bush Administration) squandered that solidarity. Deliberately.