We must overcome our anger

A classical guitarist and teacher in the Music Department at Chico State University.

The last two weeks have overwhelmed me.

The sheer horror is mind-numbing, to say the least. What is most worrisome to me now is how we are choosing to respond. Our hatred is turning us into the very enemy we say we despise. There is a call for war and there are letters to the daily paper supporting the wholesale bombing of the Afghan people. I say this is madness.

I would ask those who support such choices to try to see through your hatred for a moment and imagine where the end result of such actions would leave us. In the first place, the actual perpetrators of this violence have clearly demonstrated that they have no fear of dying for a cause they believe in. If they die by our hands, they will die as martyrs in the eyes of all who support them. If we do as they did and just bomb them without regard for the innocent, then we are surely no better than they are, and I can promise you that what happened on Sept. 11 will only be the beginning of the assaults on our nation.

It’s time to realize that the tactics of Arnold, Bruce and Sly Stallone are no longer an appropriate response. To continue killing will only serve to make our enemies firmer in their resolve to bring us to our knees (and now the whole world knows an extremely cost-effective way to do it!) and give our allies greater reason to fear us.

Find the real villains behind this atrocity? Absolutely. Respond with a vigilante-type of careless disregard to take out all those who hate us? I think that we might all be amazed at how long a list that is, and I will vehemently oppose to my last breath any such action that our country might consider.

Until we acknowledge our own demons and the prominent role we have played in world violence and injustice, we will continue to live in the shadow of fear wondering when the next horrific event will happen. I’m very clear that to follow this violent path—and it appears to be gaining on us—will lead us to a dark and lonely place for which recovery may prove to be impossible.

Please, all of us, let’s turn off the TV. We’ve seen the images scores of times now, and everything else is only serving to fan the flames of hate.

It’s time to stop listening to those privileged few personalities who get to tell us what the proper response should be and deal with this loss in our own personal way. We might be surprised at the ways that true healing starts to show up in our lives: helping the homeless with compassion and without judgment, treating our neighbors as good friends, finding our own voices, speaking our own truths and creating a deep community are a few possibilities that come to mind.

Above all, I want that no more bad happen. How we will use this tragedy as a transforming moment—and surely it is one—will put an indelible stamp on how we will forever after define ourselves as a nation. What is the best that we can do now?