Tag Archives: 911

The Paris Attacks: Was the Date Symbolic?


I generally try to focus my blog posts on books, poems, stories, and comics, but since the bulk of my reading over the past 10 hours has focused on the tragic events in Paris, I suppose I should share my thoughts.

First off, my thoughts and prayers are with the people of France, the victims, and their families. It pains me to think of what they must be going through.

Next, I would like to point out something that was obvious to me. This attack happened on Friday the 13th. I’m not superstitious, but I also do not believe in coincidences. It would not surprise me if the assaults were orchestrated to happen on this day for symbolic reasons.

If ISIS was behind this attack, and it seems likely that they were, we should consider that they labeled the French as infidels. During the Crusades, France sent the Knights Templar to the Holy Land to fight the Muslims. Afterwards, King Philip, fearing the power of the Templars, orchestrated the arrest and subsequent torture and execution of the Knights Templar on Friday the 13th, 1307. I hate to sound like a conspiracy nut, but the parallel gives me pause. If this was a planned and orchestrated attack, then I can only assume that the perpetrators chose a date that would hold symbolic meaning and would be easily remembered, just as the 9/11 date for the attack on the World Trade Center.

I want to close by reiterating that my thoughts and prayers are with France. My heart goes out to the people there.

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George W. Bush’s 9/11 Speech


As I was having my coffee this morning, I wondered what I should read on the anniversary of 9/11. In the past, I had read things like Art Spiegelman’s In the Shadow of No Towers. Today, I opted to read George W. Bush’s speech which he delivered on that evening. There is one part of the speech that struck me:

These acts of mass murder were intended to frighten our nation into chaos and retreat. But they have failed. Our country is strong. A great people has been moved to defend a great nation.

Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America. These acts shatter steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve.

It’s ironic how just last night my wife and I were discussing how fearful everyone is nowadays and how people’s actions seem motivated by that fear. This fear seems to be fanned by the media. As much as I hate to admit it, 13 years later, it seems the perpetrators of the attack may have been successful in their ultimate goal. We have become a fearful nation.

I wish I knew what the answer was.

I am including the full text of the speech for those who wish to read it.


Good evening.

Today, our fellow citizens, our way of life, our very freedom came under attack in a series of deliberate and deadly terrorist acts.

The victims were in airplanes or in their offices — secretaries, businessmen and women, military and federal workers. Moms and dads. Friends and neighbors.

Thousands of lives were suddenly ended by evil, despicable acts of terror.

The pictures of airplanes flying into buildings, fires burning, huge structures collapsing, have filled us with disbelief, terrible sadness and a quiet, unyielding anger.

These acts of mass murder were intended to frighten our nation into chaos and retreat. But they have failed. Our country is strong. A great people has been moved to defend a great nation.

Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America. These acts shatter steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve.

America was targeted for attack because we’re the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world. And no one will keep that light from shining.

Today, our nation saw evil, the very worst of human nature, and we responded with the best of America, with the daring of our rescue workers, with the caring for strangers and neighbors who came to give blood and help in any way they could.

Immediately following the first attack, I implemented our government’s emergency response plans. Our military is powerful, and it’s prepared. Our emergency teams are working in New York City and Washington, D.C., to help with local rescue efforts.

Our first priority is to get help to those who have been injured and to take every precaution to protect our citizens at home and around the world from further attacks.

The functions of our government continue without interruption. Federal agencies in Washington which had to be evacuated today are reopening for essential personnel tonight and will be open for business tomorrow.

Our financial institutions remain strong, and the American economy will be open for business as well.

The search is underway for those who are behind these evil acts. I’ve directed the full resources for our intelligence and law enforcement communities to find those responsible and bring them to justice. We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them.

I appreciate so very much the members of Congress who have joined me in strongly condemning these attacks. And on behalf of the American people, I thank the many world leaders who have called to offer their condolences and assistance.

America and our friends and allies join with all those who want peace and security in the world and we stand together to win the war against terrorism.

Tonight I ask for your prayers for all those who grieve, for the children whose worlds have been shattered, for all whose sense of safety and security has been threatened. And I pray they will be comforted by a power greater than any of us spoken through the ages in Psalm 23: “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me.”

This is a day when all Americans from every walk of life unite in our resolve for justice and peace. America has stood down enemies before, and we will do so this time.

None of us will ever forget this day, yet we go forward to defend freedom and all that is good and just in our world.

Thank you. Good night and God bless America.


Filed under Non-fiction

“Answering 911: Life in the Hot Seat” by Caroline Burau

When I’m not blogging or playing guitar, my job is writing technical and product communications for a software company that develops 911 and first responder software. In order to better understand my target audience, I asked my supervisor to recommend a book that would give me insight into what it is like to be on the receiving end of a 911 call. She recommended Answering 911: Life in the Hot Seat by Caroline Burau.

This is a short book and a very quick read. I basically blew through it while flying and passing time in airports on a trip this past week. While the writing is not Pulitzer material, I found the book fascinating and honest. Burau openly shares her experiences in a 911 center, how she handles the stress of the job, the challenges, and the satisfaction.

What struck me as interesting was the sheer volume of BS calls that are received in a 911 dispatch center. You would think that people would only call 911 if it is an emergency. Not the case. These centers are inundated with calls ranging from the bizarre to the just plain stupid. I couldn’t believe that people still call 911 to request the fire department to come and get a cat down from a tree. As the writer points out, you never see dead cats in trees. The cat will eventually figure out how to get down.

This book may not be for everyone, but if you are interested in first response and want to know what it’s like to be the initial person who handles an emergency situation, then this book is worth perusing.

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Filed under Non-fiction