Like so many others, I am reflecting upon what happened in NY. Perhaps because my youngest daughter is now living in Manhattan, and going to school about three blocks from the new Freedom Tower I am a little more focused on possibilities.
New York City will remain a target on the world stage. It is the capital of capitalism, it is the perfect representative of American culture, it is densely populated for maximum effect of any action and it is easily entered and exited.
The question to ask is why? How has conflict, which has been with us since Caen and Abel, escalated to such massive actions?
My answer is too simplistic to be profound, it is…because it can be done. The media for death and destruction is now available. It has gotten smaller, more portable, and much more available.
It isn’t that we, as humans, are more murderous. We have always been murderous. It isn’t that suddenly our political or social ideas have suddenly changed to accepting mass death to potentially innocent people. It is the very existence of “innocent people” that ups the ante for the few people in power to get the message. “See, look here, this is the result of your actions. This is revenge for what you have done. Change your ways or more innocent victims will die.”
Alexander, trained in philosophy, spared cities that surrendered and leveled to the ground those that didn’t. He moved heaven and earth to send this message. The powerful and independent island city-state of Tyre felt confident enough to reject Alexander’s threat.
Alexander literally moved earth. With wheel barrows and carts, he had his soldiers dump rocks and tamped earth from the shore out towards the island almost a mile away. The last 500 ft under constant arrow attack. Although the city walls were often 150 ft high, Alexander’s engineers broke through the wall and their city was conquered. They paid the heaviest price for their stubborn resistance.
The Mongols in their quest for domination would leave everything in place after winning the battle. The same princes, the same mayors of cities. Of course tribute would be sent to the Great Khan annually, but effectively, everything was the same, they didn’t even leave an occupying army. All they had to do is set a few examples.
When attacking a city, sometimes, if opposed, they would kill every man, and sell into slavery every survivor. Not every time, but enough to send a message. And if a conquered city rebelled, nearly every time it was recaptured and every citizen killed. A very powerful message.
When the multinational Christian army first captured Jerusalem, every surrendered survivor was killed, Muslim, Jews, even most long time Christian residents. Only a few monks in charge of the holy places were spared. A message was sent.
I’m certain there are hundreds if not thousands of examples from earlier times, and the same for more modern times. The point is that if the ability exists, the most horrific actions can and will be used. It is only a matter of time and place.
There have been cultures and leaders that had the ability, but didn’t use mass destruction as a tool or threat. Only a very few to be sure, but they did exist, and possibly a few exist today.
Does that mean NYC is safe today, and tomorrow?
No, it doesn’t. And yet my daughter is technically in harms way, how can I allow it? How will I justify my stand should something happen on some future 9/11.
I don’t know. Today I think no person can live in fear, and modify their lives by avoiding cities because they might be targets. Yet I accept long lines at the airport and massive intrusions of privacy by the government. It is a fluid decision.
The real problem is that we, as humans, can justify such horrific actions by individuals or by governments. It is a daily reminder that the fall of the Lindisfarne, the fall of Jerusalem, the Rape of Rome that ended the Renaissance, or the Holocaust of Europe are still present in us as a people. We have not substantially changed, we are barbaric just under the skin. All of us.
The world is totally under the rule of the Angel of Light. Only God can help us.