GILBERT WAS RIGHT
7 July 2005
It was 1986. Gilbert and I were driving down Geary Street in San Francisco and were talking about current events.
"There will be no World War III," he said. "The world is going to be brought down by terrorist groups."
I've often thought of that, as the world struggles to know how to respond to faceless terrorists who have little concern for their own lives, much less anyone else's, and who believe that dying for the cause is a glorious thing.
It was 4 a.m. when I awoke this morning, thirsty. The television was on and as I slowly began to focus, I realized that Tony Blair, looking gravely at the camera, was no longer speaking with elation about having been given the 2012 Olympics, but he was speaking about attacks on the London underground.
I continued to watch the scenes of bloodied and bandaged people being led or carried to various medical vehicles, dazed people talking to disembodied microphones about what it was like, the reporters trying to get the most lurid details, the commentators trying to coordinate all the reporters in the field.
The sight has become, sadly, familiar.
I thought back on being in London on 9/11 and the days that followed and thought of one person being interviewed on his views on the attacks on the World Trade Center.
"Now the Americans will know how the rest of the world lives," he said.
Gilbert was right--the terrorists have won.
We have a long history of battles. Us against them. Uniforms, "enemy lines," the real-life war games played by both sides struggling to take control of a piece of land. Men and their war toys.
We don't know how to deal with terrorism.
We have military personnel marching all over foreign countries looking for the enemy, but the enemy doesn't play by the rules of our war games. They don't line up and shoot at us. They don't wear uniforms, they don't care about land acquisition. They are everywhere, just enough to make us look suspiciously at all the rest of us.
Is that your briefcase, or are you going to blow yourself and all the rest of us up? Do I dare get on this airplane? This subway?
How do you effectively combat an ideal? How do you deal with people who attack to intimidate, not to capture? How do you change the minds and hearts of people who have centuries and generations of inbred hatred, who feel they are on a holy mission and that God is guiding their actions?
Gilbert was right. We have passed beyond the days when territorial battles were our focus. Now we are fighting idealism and it's a war we don't have a clue how to handle, much less win.
My heart goes out to those in London who are victims of the latest bombing.
On the puppy front, Ashley called yesterday to say that the people who took Paul and his siblings while we went off to Santa Barbara have decided that they want to keep them. I was disappointed on the one hand, but on the other hand, realize that it's probably a good thing. I could feel myself becoming emotionally attached to a puppy named Paul. We may still get the three other siblings, who are being bottlefed by a family who agreed to keep them for a week, but I won't know about that for a bit.
There was a scare with the puppies, though. Ashley was afraid that three of them had developed parvo virus and thought for sure she would lose them, but now she thinks they had a new strain of canine virus, mimicking parvo symptoms, but not automatically fatal to little puppies.
"They are fighters," she said, amazed that they had made such a miraculous recovery.
She also guesstimates that they were not one week old when I had them, but were much younger, since she feels that they are probably one week old now. This would explain why they weren't so adept at learning how to nurse from something other than Mom, and why they appeared to be so traumatized at the loss of Mom.
When all the shock and horror and confusion is swirling around the world at the news of yet another terrorist attack, it's nice to feel grounded by a little batch of helpless puppies.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
I loved this--it's a Burger Queen,