It took me a while to get to sleep last night. Tossing and turning, I kept envisioning a bullet suspended in time. We don’t know yet what weapon was used. We don’t know who pulled the trigger. We just know the bullet, and another, hit their mark.
But while it hangs suspended in time, we’re different than today. I’ve often written that if a liberal is a conservative who’s never been mugged, our entire country was mugged on 9/11. We became as that victim, fearing that noise inside the house or that shadow by the alleyway. We internalized that fear in a myriad of ways and entrusted our government with what we thought were the tools to protect us: unprecedented oversight into our information and our lives. The fear abated somewhat, but is still present.
While that bullet hangs suspended, our chief concern is our economy or the price of gas. A transient feeling that the past decade has been a lost period. Two wars that achieved operational objectives, but hardly feel like victories. Unrest in the Arab world that might mark the end of dictatorship and corruption, but doesn’t yet hold any promise of less extremism or more stability. We’re outraged at the intrusive measures taken when we travel, but we’re the ones who asked them to protect us.
At some point hopefully the victim receives a phone call. The mugger was caught, killed in a shootout. At that moment the victim must confront a choice in how they move on: Is the mugging the source of their fear, or the mugger?
The bullet hangs suspended. Then finds its mark, followed by another. The news delivered, and the initial spasms of cathartic celebration ensue.
I suppose the rest of it, confronting the fear of the mugging or the mugger, up to us now.