Tag Archives: 9/11

A Declaration of Death, A Nation Rejoices

2 May

At a little before eleven last night, social media outfits like Twitter and Facebook were ablaze with first, news that President Obama would be presenting an unusual Sunday Night address, followed by the leaked bulletin that the POTUS’s revelation had to do with the confirmed death of arguably the world’s most wanted man in history (personally, I thought we were going to have an Armageddon moment where the president was going to tell us that the Endeavor mission was actually scrubbed because there was an unavoidable meteor headed for the planet; fortunately, the news was less world shattering and more world changing).

In a late night televised address, President Barak Obama spoke to the nation and the world to verify that after receiving substantiated intelligence briefings last week from the CIA and other Special Ops factions, he gave the order to eliminate Osama bin Laden, the mastermind behind the Sept. 11th attacks against the United States. The president also confirmed that the United States military was in possession of bin Laden’s body, and that in executing this very covert operation with the assistance of the Pakistani government, the world was on its way to becoming a safer place.

As the residual waves of shock and disbelief at the 10-year fugitive’s demise began to wear off however, the tone in America began to change. Twitter trending topics like #BinLadenDead, #JackBauer (fictional Counter Terrorist Unit Operative) and #NavySeals emerged from the social networking site, and jokes as well as tweets consigning bin Laden to hellfire and eternal damnation abounded.  News outlets like MSNBC, Fox and CNN were covering the swells of revelers at The White House Gates and Ground Zero; both very festive and celebratory scenes that, if one did not know better, would assume was a result of a pre-planned party, not the reaction to a bullet-in-the-head death.

Now don’t misunderstand, I believe unequivocally that Osama bin Laden and the members of Al Qaeda have always posed a real and serious threat to The United States, and that his death was ultimately a necessary one; one that I don’t oppose, but I must admit that I was more than a little disturbed by the sheer jubilation and revelry I witnessed in the people from the various news reports and on the social streams throughout the night and into the early morning hours.  Just like the biblical proverb reminds us not to gloat or be filled with gladness when our enemy has fallen, it has certainly been hard for me to see the humanity in wishing anyone dead (and taking up the omniscient banner of condemning their soul).

After absorbing the ramifications of last night’s HUGE revelation, my first thought immediately became whether or not my countrymen even remembered how it felt when the Sept. 11th’s death toll continued to rise and word of extremist zealots burning American flags and dancing in the streets was received. Or the sinking feeling that became part of our hearts each time the 11 o’clock news announced yet another death of an American solider as a result of our country’s War on Terror.

Listen, I get it, Lord knows I do; people feel a sense of vindication and closure as a result of the death of such an inherently evil mass murderer and I am sensitive to that (I can’t say with all certainty that I would feel a whole lot different had I lost a loved one in the 9/11 tragedies, or due to military conflict) but to be delighting in the man’s sanctioned murder as opposed to exulting and taking pride in the end of his reign of terror and what he stood for seems a bit macabre and bloodthirsty, even for our highly depicted “shoot-first-ask-questions-later” Western characterizations.

I think for me though, what I’ve found most troubling about last night and in the various Twitter and Facebook “philosophical” debates I have had seems to be that for all the zeal and celebrating going on, so many people continue to miss the point.  In the live coverage, uninformed declarations, biased opinions (about Muslims…still) and drunken reveling and flag waving thrived.  On the net, global concern, critical thinking on the issue or hesitance in kindling the brimstone was met with expletives, racial slurs and accusations of terrorist sympathizing.

Call me naïve, but I’d have thought that for whatever the American public’s varying opinions have been on the death of what we can all agree was a heinous terror architect, we’d at least appreciate the magnitude of this historic event and how it makes the world a little more safe; not how it gives some of us an excuse to get intoxicated and rabble-rouse in the name of “justice served”.

Where were you and what were you doing when this world-rocking, historical news broke? Do you believe that the public’s frenzied endorsement of bin Laden’s death is warranted or one resulting from bloodlust?

Your Own Worst Enemy: When Keeping It Real Goes Wrong

13 Sep

With last night’s seemingly drama-free MTV Video Music Awards (which I unapologetically did not watch) and reports of Tanye’s (Taylor Swift and Kanye West) backstage truce, this weekend proved to be very slow and uneventful in the way of relevant Music Industry News.

Enter Moses Barrett III.

The North Carolina rapper (well, that’s what his resume states) better known as Petey Pablo was arrested over the weekend at RDU International Airport en route (ironically) to Los Angeles for The VMAs after allegedly trying to carry a gun aboard a U.S. Airways flight.

 According to an airport spokesperson, the entertainer told airport police that he’d forgotten the 9mm automatic pistol was in his carry-on luggage.  In the arrest warrant, officers wrote that Barrett knew that the gun, a Smith & Wesson 639 Model, had been reported stolen.  That claim, coupled with his 1993 armed robbery conviction (which landed him in prison for six years of his 14 year sentence), has shined a spotlight on the N.C. native’s convicted felon “street cred” and has garnered him the sort of attention that would tank, instead of revive a music career already on life support.

But clearly in the Pack Household, this couldn’t just be an open and shut case of “when keeping it real goes wrong.”  Ever the advocate and resident conspiracy theorist, my honey pointed out that celebrities oftentimes have someone in their entourage or a gopher to do things like maintain their schedules or pack their luggage, so it could very well be true that Petey Pablo was unaware that he was packing heat.  I of course would not even entertain this sorry excuse for devil’s advocacy, and with good reason:

  1. Calling Petey Pablo a celebrity, even when “Raise Up” was in heavy rotation, is reaching.
  2. Since his “Kangol-mink-wife-beater” combo wearing days on the set of Drumline,  Petey Pablo has likely not had enough going on to need a day-planner or an assistant, much less an entourage.
  3. This dude is a Convicted. Felon.  Isn’t it a felony for him to even own a Super Soaker?  And whether or not he knew the gun was in his luggage (humph), when it was discovered, he actually told the cops he was aware that the piece was stolen. Huh?
  4. His felonious behind was caught with a (stolen) concealed weapon. In an airport. On 9/11.  Of all the days not to have given your luggage a once over to ensure that that extra pair of Fruit of The Looms was packed, I am thinking that September 11th was not the day. 
  5. How’d he get tickets for the VMA’s anyway?

Nope, not buying it.  If you ask me, this is a classic case of when simple people do simple things.  Folks love to proclaim how “hard” they are, how much they “represent” and how “real” they keep it, until reality kicks them through the goal posts of life.  And I’d wager that possession of a firearm by a felon, possession of a stolen gun and carrying a concealed weapon charges are about as real as it gets.  Here’s wishing his defense attorney good luck…and a miracle.

Update:  While proofing this post, my honey came home and shared that he listened to a radio interview just this afternoon, featuring Petey Pablo.  According to my bleeding heart honey, Petey explained that while mentoring a friend out of a bad situation, he tried to do right by convincing the guy to give him the gun that he’d been planning to use.  Stowing it away months ago, Petey simply forgot that he had it.

“See Tiff, he was trying to do a good deed and got hemmed up.”

Maybe, just maybe I can envision that.  As such, I amend my assessment of the case: Taking one for the team, while keeping it 100.  Perhaps therein lies your reasonable doubt Mr. Defense Attorney.

September 11th: Day of Remembrance and Renewal

11 Sep

Today marks the nine year anniversary of the 9/11 Attacks; the day that America uttered a collective cry of shock and horror at the growing realization that four seemingly unrelated airplane crashes were actually strategic assaults against The United States.  Even now, when recalling that day and viewing the images that capture the most catastrophic and horrific terrorist attacks on American soil, it has become increasingly evident that the wounds that this country suffered are still raw and will take years, if not decades to heal.

Having randomly decided that day to cash-in a mental-health day (which in hindsight was a good idea), I can clearly remember sitting in my living room, shocked and confused by the breaking news and live footage of an airplane crash in New York City. Some thirty minutes later, that confusion was quickly replaced by horror, dismay and paralyzing fear.  Not only had airliners devastated the New York skyline twice, but planes had also gone down in Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania.

Are the media outlets right about these crashes being deliberate?

Who’s travelling this week?

Where is my address book? 

Will more attacks occur around the country? 

Why isn’t she picking up? 

Who could have done this?

My mind was racing.  My thoughts were illogical.  Even in my quiet, out of the way neighborhood, I was continually peeking through my drapes into a cloudless sky.  In the days that passed, it became clear that al-Qaeda was claiming responsibility for the attacks.  It was equally clear that our government had begun making preparations to respond swiftly and decisively.  My friends and family were all safe and accounted for but like me, they were concerned about the political and social direction the nation would take after such a debilitating assault.

But as unified and patriotic as the American people became in the weeks and months after the attacks occurred, American attitudes of bigotry and intolerance also began to manifest against the citizens of this nation who just so happened to have similar features or be of the same faith as those heartless “architects of evil.”

I soon began hearing members of my multi-racial family using slurs and generalizations when speaking about Arabs.  Some of my black Republican friends were unabashedly adding terms like “raghead”, “jihadist” and “sand-n*****” to their vocabulary.  Two of my girlfriends from North Africa shared how draining it’d become to be deemed spokeswomen for all Muslims and being forced to defend a religion that didn’t even condone the extremist beliefs of the September 11th attackers in the first place.  I understood that America felt vulnerable and angry; we all felt that way.  But some Americans took this opportunity to cultivate the nation’s emotions and obvious fear of the unknown into an all-out and unwarranted condemnation of Muslims; both here and abroad.

Some nine years later, America’s sentiments regarding Muslims and Islam may not be as blatantly derogatory as they once were, but it is still evident by the “Ground-Zero Mosque” debates, the “Burn a Qur’an Day” arguments or the “POTUS Religious Preference Polls” that this nation still has a long way to go in the way of religious tolerance and cultural acceptance. 

Recognizing the necessity of bridge building, in 2009 President Obama signed into law The Service America Act.  Designating September 11 as the National Day of Service and Remembrance, the president’s goal has been to encourage Americans to come together to serve their communities in the same remarkable spirit of tolerance and compassion that has made this nation a multi-cultural beacon around the world.

This year’s 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance will be highlighted by signature projects in six cities – New York City; Washington, DC; Boston; Arlington, VA; Los Angeles; and Philadelphia, as well as other events taking place in all 50 states. From volunteers participating in neighborhood and school cleanups, home repairs and assembling care packages for our armed forces members, to emergency preparedness training and interfaith dialogues, today’s observance is not only about honoring the past; recognizing the nation’s heroes in their valiant calls to action, but is also about embracing our future and supporting real efforts to bridge the gaps of understanding for the sake of becoming a one (truly collective) nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

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