It is a day I will always remember and yet I struggle to forget. I want it to be a day like any other day. It was the first day that we had PlusOneFriend over to play. We had just begun homeschooling and his mother had recently had a surgery. So we picked him up to play for the day. On the way home I stopped to pick up some groceries. As I came through the door, the phone was ringing and three children plus groceries slowed me down. It was my sister-in-law. She said, “What the hell’s going on down there?” I thought this was in reference to how long it took me to get to the phone. So I told what was going on in my tiny little life. No. A plane just flew into the Pentagon. Oh. That’s made up. Surely that didn’t happen. I turned on the television in front of three sets of impressionable eyes just in time to see the second plane hit the second tower. And not one of us could fathom what was happening. It didn’t make any sense. So we sat and watched for hours until somehow it made sense. I sat on the phone with LightHusband … the only connection he and his co-workers had with the outside world until they were released to go home.
In a sense, though, this should be a day like any other. Terrible things happened six years ago today. But terrible things happen every day. Seismic shifts happen in peoples lives every day and the world does not stop, sit up and take notice. The world just drifts right on by. I did a little (very little) research before I sat down to write this post. As of this year there have been 673 coalition deaths in Afghanistan. Depending on which source you look at … some say as few as 617. It is extremely difficult to find any data on civilian deaths in Operation Enduring Freedom. From what little I can gather, it would be safe to say that approximately 4,000 civilians have died in Afghanistan since October 2001. This number does not include any Afghani Taliban, Al Qaeda, or insurgent deaths. I haven’t been able to find any data on that at all. So the seismic shifts that happened to us on September 11 would now seem to have been equalized. We have gone to the country of their origin, terrorized and killed an equal number of their civilians. But equal justice was not enough. We had to get more. So we went to Iraq. The number of coalition dead there is now 3,774. The number of Iraqi dead is equally difficult to determine. Some number it in the hundreds of thousands, others in the simple thousands. This article in Wikipedia does a good job of presenting the evidence from many perspectives.
On any given day in this country, approximately 117 people die in generic automobile accidents. The world of their families just seismically shifted. Of those approximately 117 people, 41% of those automobile accidents are alcohol related … so 48 of those accidents are not accidents at all. They could (without too much stretch) be likened to terrorism. If one or both drivers had not consumed alcohol, the accident probably would not have happened and people would not die. Yet, we do not take out after drunken drivers with guns, seeking justice in an eye for eye Old Testament fashion. We allow for time and season to heal our wounds, if ever they can. We allow the justice system to work for us. We hope that God will step in for us. That in this world or the next, at some point, the scales will be evened … though we may never know it.
Last year throughout the world 2.9 million people … men, women and children died as result of being infected with the AIDS virus. Those families … those mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, children … their worlds just seismically shifted. All for the lack of some very cheap … very inexpensive drugs.
Isaiah 59 4;7-15
4 No one calls for justice;
no one pleads his case with integrity.
They rely on empty arguments and speak lies;
they conceive trouble and give birth to evil.
7 Their feet rush into sin;
they are swift to shed innocent blood.
Their thoughts are evil thoughts;
ruin and destruction mark their ways.
8 The way of peace they do not know;
there is no justice in their paths.
They have turned them into crooked roads;
no one who walks in them will know peace.
9 So justice is far from us,
and righteousness does not reach us.
We look for light, but all is darkness;
for brightness, but we walk in deep shadows.
10 Like the blind we grope along the wall,
feeling our way like men without eyes.
At midday we stumble as if it were twilight;
among the strong, we are like the dead.
11 We all growl like bears;
we moan mournfully like doves.
We look for justice, but find none;
for deliverance, but it is far away.
12 For our offenses are many in your sight,
and our sins testify against us.
Our offenses are ever with us,
and we acknowledge our iniquities:
13 rebellion and treachery against the LORD,
turning our backs on our God,
fomenting oppression and revolt,
uttering lies our hearts have conceived.
14 So justice is driven back,
and righteousness stands at a distance;
truth has stumbled in the streets,
honesty cannot enter.
15 Truth is nowhere to be found,
and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey.
The LORD looked and was displeased
that there was no justice.