Are we sure it's over?
September 11, 2001 7:40 PM   Subscribe

Are we sure it's over? I don't mean to play the role of doomsday prophet here, but as happy as I am to be alive (I watched the buildings fall from my office on 23rd St), I feel utterly trapped on Manhattan and completely vulnerable to an attack which would dwarf today's tragedy as much as today dwarfed the previous WTC attack. Anyone want to allay my fears?
posted by Sinner (27 comments total)
Is it ever all over? Today may have changed everything. Before, we would read or see stories about the carnage that occurs elsewhere and sort of shrug our shoulders but rest confident in the knowledge that those things happen there, not here. Well, now it's happened here and we will never again be able to feel as insulated from everything.
posted by MAYORBOB at 7:45 PM on September 11, 2001

Either way, It's certainly nice to see CNN advertising our vulnerability...
posted by glenwood at 7:47 PM on September 11, 2001

It won't be over until we know who did this and why.
posted by Katy Action at 7:53 PM on September 11, 2001

Glenwood - I think it highly unlikely that anyone who would take advantage of our vulnerability would need to see it advertised. I knew about it from the papers years ago.

Katy - I think you miss my point. By "over" I mean this attack, not the entire conflict. Put bluntly, I'm profoundly concerned about the potential for a chemical/biological/nuclear assault.
posted by Sinner at 7:56 PM on September 11, 2001

I heard a plane pass overhead just now. I'm sure it was some kind of federally-approved jet, but my blood *still* froze for a moment.
posted by darukaru at 7:56 PM on September 11, 2001

I can't. Nor can anyone else.

I am equally afraid. I, frankly, am terrified. I know that security has been heightened but when my LIRR train goes through that (vulnerable) tunnel tomorrow and into (vulnerable) Penn Station (assuming my office on 28th is open) I will be crossing my fingers and praying to make it home.

No exaggeration. No joke.
posted by metrocake at 7:57 PM on September 11, 2001

I'm willing to be Nervous Nellie -- I won't be traveling tomorrow during rush hour.
posted by Pyth at 7:57 PM on September 11, 2001

I meant the attack too. No one knows who did it and if there are more planned.
posted by Katy Action at 8:01 PM on September 11, 2001

It was my first thought this morning after I started hearing some signs of relief.

In the wake of today's events, if it was really a landmark terrorist event, many thousands more would die in the weeks to follow, to show how crazy these guys really were. I mean, in a weird way, if you really wanted to freak the world out, you'd do something like that. Maybe I've seen too many movies, but suicide missions into a building that takes a few thousand lives is nothing compared to releasing a biowarfare bomb wiping out much of the eastern seaboard, while everyone is busying focusing on the building crashes.
posted by mathowie at 8:06 PM on September 11, 2001

On the news by me just now they said that they stopped a truck near the George Washington Bridge from NJ loaded with explosives.
posted by jeb at 8:09 PM on September 11, 2001

Jeb, I heard that too but didn't see any confirmation on a real news site yet... Horrible.

Back to the question at hand, I just finished reading Debt of honor and Executive Orders by Tom Clancy, so my paranoia is at its peak. I know that if I was a terrorist really trying to inflict damage, with the resources that they have, this wouldn't be the end of it. And the fact that there was no prior knowledge of this does expose some vulnerability. If they pulled that off so easily today, there's no telling what other plans they had for the west coast, bio stuff (they knew that they'd probably shut down airports and strand lots of people), that 4th plane in PA, etc.

I'm going to stop thinking about it because I'm scaring myself. Time to start remembering that we do have the best military in the world. And that plane I head a while ago from SFO was surely military, so I'd hope that they'll protect us from any airborne troubles, at least...
posted by Bernreuther at 8:15 PM on September 11, 2001

I feel like whoever did this made their boldest move at a time when the U.S. least suspected it. Now that the whole nation's on alert, I think we can feel relatively (though I use that term loosely) safe.
posted by adrober at 8:18 PM on September 11, 2001

Now that the symbolic targets of American financial and military power have been attacked, where are the follow-up attacks on American corporate, media, and cultural 'imperialism'? Strikes on the Microsoft campus near Seattle, CNN Center in Atlanta, and the HOLLYWOOD sign in Los Angeles seem like a logical second wave... if this isn't over after all.
posted by SenshiNeko at 8:27 PM on September 11, 2001

CNN is reporting a van with "tons" of c4 inside was found on the Brooklyn Bridge. It's not online yet, so no source.....

I agree about the "logical second wave", maybe just because I'm paranoid and I go to school near the CNN Center (and a federal reserve bank).... :(
posted by kidsplate at 8:33 PM on September 11, 2001

ok... the van was a rumor. nevermind.
posted by kidsplate at 8:36 PM on September 11, 2001

Although this seems to contradict the theme of the post I just made ten minutes ago... here is the 'other side' of the question:

Speaking as an intelligence analyst, today's targets indicate to me that this is a traditional politically-themed terrorist conspiracy and not a more widespread and longer-term assault on the 'American way of life', no matter how much rhetoric to the contrary is bandied about on the news. And as with any terror incident, noting the symbolism of the date is important - why today? Is it because of the anniversary of the Camp David Accords, or because one of the embassy bombers was being sentenced?
posted by SenshiNeko at 8:38 PM on September 11, 2001

kidsplate, how do you know van is a rumor?
posted by jeb at 8:43 PM on September 11, 2001

Safe? No, we're not safe. That's exactly the point, a point made even more harshly by the use of civilian airplanes as bombs.

And 'alert' is hardly the word I'd use to describe a situation of despair, grief, denial, and running around desperately looking for someone to blame, someone to be made to suffer, as if that will make any difference. :-(

posted by aeschenkarnos at 8:45 PM on September 11, 2001

I don't have access to TV, but a friend is watching CNN and talking to me online, giving updates.
posted by kidsplate at 8:50 PM on September 11, 2001

Is it over? No. I don't think so. But I also will not be able to seperate this attack from any that may follow, or the retaliation.
posted by sofried at 9:01 PM on September 11, 2001

I think it unlikely that there will be more attacks in the near future. It would have been obvious that after the initial attack that everyone in the US would be on high alert thereafter, which would make any follow-on attacks much more difficult. They would have the maximum chance of success by stacking all their attacks simultaneously, which seems to be what they did.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 9:14 PM on September 11, 2001

Does anyone remember the article posted here on Metafilter about School Shootings and White Denial? (here)

If you replaced School Shootings with Terrorism on American Soil and White Denial with American Denial I think the article would have a chilling take on today's events. Whatever the reason for the events of today it is a clear sign to me that Americans have let our government become run by corporations and special interest. The decisions of our Government on issues like Israel, global warming, economic aid and many others are based on what would benefit corporate America, not what would benefit the people of America.

I am not saying that we need to bow to the pressure of Terrorism. I am saying that America needs to stop acting like a spoiled rich bully towards others and reflect the principles of democracy by practising them both at home and abroad.
posted by DragonBoy at 9:15 PM on September 11, 2001

It definitely feels like this is just beginning - I can easily see the US massively supporting the Israelis, which leaves two possibilities in the middle east - deciding it's not worth the consequences or launching into a full-blown war. While I'd like to believe that people aren't that crazy, today's events provide rather strong evidence that they are. Things like the bio-weapons story merely underscore how vulnerable we are to a major assault - it's inexcusable that so little has changed in the many years since this was first discussed. On a semi-related note, I seem to recall reading somewhere that the US burn-center capacity for people with very serious burns (e.g. full-body) was on the order of 50 people, which is a fraction of today's total.

And here's more about the van with the explosives.
posted by adamsc at 9:19 PM on September 11, 2001

SenshiNeko makes a good point. I think that if this was going to continue they'd have made more strategic hits, to knock out some of our military or something like that, so as to disable our ability to respond. Now, with people aware and everything being shut down, any further attack would be made much more difficult.

This only makes me slightly less afraid.

Hopefully answers can be found quickly, so that we don't need to worry about any other groups (or the same one) trying to exploit a confused nation... The searching in Florida has me optimistic that we'll find the bastards quickly.
posted by Bernreuther at 10:28 PM on September 11, 2001

Don't forget that their goal is to change our society. We can't remain on military alert forever without doing that. Also, if they waited and tried something else (e.g. poisoning a water supply or using a biological weapon) it'd be much worse because of the existing heavy demands on emergency services - they might decide the multiplier effect makes it worth higher risks.
posted by adamsc at 10:45 PM on September 11, 2001

DragonBoy, stfu with your political agenda. A number of people have shown their true colors by trying to turn this into an opportunity to score political points.

Just all you stfu.
posted by marknau at 10:47 PM on September 11, 2001

DragonBoy, stfu with your political agenda.

Why exactly should DragonBoy shut the fuck up, marknau? Because he's said something you don't want to hear?
posted by lia at 3:07 AM on September 12, 2001

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