wake me up when zeptember ends

9/11/07

Something got me so fucking angry that I have to recant my desire to ignore the 9/11 anniversary: the Federal Government has now banned regular people from helping out when national disasters strike. I can’t imagine anything stupider, less productive, unrealistic, cruel and downright goddamn contemptuous. Just when you think you’ve seen it all from these assholes.

Let me tell you something: if it weren’t for the work of my sister Michelle and my wife Tessa on the nights of September 12-15, the main gathering area of firemen and paramedics at Ground Zero would have been NON-FUNCTIONAL. Impromptu lights were falling down, no water was being delivered to the actual crews, and as the saying goes, “there was no THERE there.” Thinking on her feet, my sister basically reorganized the whole damn thing. Read her very short email from 9/13/01 here. And what was her training? Waitressing and acting.

Are you trying to tell me that the very same people who took FIVE DAYS to deliver a bottle of water to the Superdome after Katrina are now saying that you need special dispensation and a computer-scan badge to help neighbors dying by the score? It’s like when they only bought 100,000 doses of Neumune, claiming you could get it by going to a hospital after a nuclear attack. What is wrong with these people?

emergencyID.jpg

They have no concept of what the world is like during an actual event – no clue of the immediate breakdown of normal channels. I can promise you this: in the event of a national emergency in your town, you will have ten contingency plans, and all ten will be laughably obsolete in a matter of seconds. An ID card with an embedded chip? And somebody will be on the ground at the tragedy, at a main entrance, with a working, electronic “chip decoder” that will determine if you’re qualified to help a severely-burned little boy find his parents?

Jesus Christ, what happened to helping your fellow man? I urge all of you to listen to this podcast by This American Life six weeks after Katrina, especially Act 2, and then think about this new law. Go ahead and read Michelle’s email from September 14, 2001 and tell her that she’s not allowed to go to Ground Zero. Hell, read them all.

This act of uncharitable stupidity can only be one thing: a way to keep meddlesome lefties and Patagonia-wearin’ bleedin’-hearts from observing what really happens during an emergency and telling anyone about it. This administration wants to keep the next terrorist attack (or natural disaster) a sanitized zone where no fault can be laid at their feet. Keep going to the mall, Americans. Keep buying your fucking shoes.

My “offhand” and “offensive” remark about disregarding September 11 as an anniversary doesn’t come out of partisanship, mean-spiritedness or complacency. It comes out of necessity. The remembrance of that day only brings up two things to me: the naked, brazen political co-opting of America’s grief by some of the worst people in the world… and the horrible realization that we have learned NOTHING from the actual event about how to take care of each other.

Victims of 9/11, their families, and those of us who wandered in the penumbra of that horror relive those moments plenty of times during the year, and speaking only for myself, the “anniversary” is an unwelcome redundancy. For some things, healing is forgetting.