I was completely unable to concentrate today, not surprisingly. This was a very, very big thing that happened.
I am a Quaker, a member of the Religious Society of Friends. Quakers don't have much in the way of ideology, but peace is a very central testimony. I am praying for those who have died in this attack, and praying fervently that the aftermath doesn't kill too many more people.
And, frankly, I have high hopes for this. Ordinarily, I am not that big a fan of the American military and spy organizations, but in this case I am sure that the best and brightest, the most experienced and knowledgeable anti-terrrorist analysts in the world will be giving their full attention to finding those who are responsible for this attack and bringing them to justice.
As I see it, the greatest risk is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which has always been something of a tinderbox. Further, there doesn't seem to be much we can do about it (except to stop supplying them with weapons). These deep-seated religious conflicts have been so pervasive in human history that it seems likely to me they're simply part of human nature.
The images of Palestinians celebrating the attack have angered and enraged many Americans. I hope and believe that the majority of Palestinians decry the senseless loss of human life, as would any compassionate person. There is, of course, a segment whose zealotry outweighs their compassion, but then again there are probably many more Americans at this point who would be happy to see the deaths of all Palestinians.
I'm sure I'm not alone in wondering what I can do. I'm not eligible to give blood. I darkened this site for a while, but have now set it back. I will pray and remain open to any other ways in which I could help.
I notice quite a bit of spam in my mailbox today. I can totally understand wanting to get on with life, and the healing power of work, but for whatever reason sending spam today seems particularly offensive and disrespectful. Ah well, spammers are not known for being nice.
Also, while it's not hard to see why people are drawn to conspiracy theories and wild speculation, I don't have much tolerance for them myself. The attack must have been carried out by intelligent, educated people who embrace irrational beliefs. All this "nostradamus" crap simply serves to illustrate that this irrationality is not confined to the terrorist side. If it comforts you, fine. Just don't take any of it seriously.
I'm (for once) happy that the people in charge are holding back on key information. Eventually, it all has to come out, but for now there's a legitimate emergency. In normal circumstances, I consider myself one of the strongest advocates for free speech and full disclosure, but I do not believe these are normal circumstances.
I see that the "infowar" scare-mongers are at it again, such as this USA Today story. While it's plausible that terrorists do use encryption tools, this story strains credibility (especially with all its factual errors). While encryption protocols are ostensibly uncrackable, in practice they are so subject to human error that I doubt it will slow down a concerted effort to find the truth much at all. I hope the rest of the world has the common sense to see the infowar/cyberterrorism folks as they are, a bunch of opportunists who have read too many hi-tech spy thrillers.
At some point, I want to quibble with the phrasing of "an attack on freedom" and the usage of "coward", but not tonight.
Peace to all.