I was in my then-doctor's office in Yardley, Pennsylvania, home to several of the pilots and crew members who died in the attacks. None of us knew that at the time, of course. We were just there to see the doctor.
When I walked in for my 9 a.m. appointment, they had the radio on. "A plane crashed into the World Trade Center," the receptionist told me. Weird - that's an awfully big building to miss. I assumed it was a small plane, sat down and picked up a magazine. (I think I was there for a sinus infection.)
And as we sat there half-listening, a few minutes later the weirdness replayed itself: Another plane crashed into the other building.
At this point, dread set in and we knew something really, really bad was happening.
I remember the drive home, heading south on I-95. It was completely empty, except for one state trooper I'd passed. I'd never seen that. I remember thinking it looked like the end of the world.
On the ride home, I kept trying to call the people I cared about - not to see that they were physically safe, but as an emotional touchstone. The phone lines were busy everywhere and it was hard to get through. (I remember my then-boyfriend was not all that interested in hearing from me, so something else died that day.)
My grown son was staying with me while he looked for a job and was sleeping on the couch when I came home. I flipped on the TV and it woke him up. We watched as they showed the planes crashing into the building, again and again and again.
"Turn it off," he said after an hour or so. "This is pornography, war pornography. Turn it off."
So I did.
When we have our limbic brain punched over and over again by horrific images, and those images are then used to justify more horror, there is only one solution: Turn off your TV.
My son was right: The 9/11 images were war pornography, something watched over and over as we stroked ourselves into wargasm.
In honor of the victims of the 9/11 attacks, comments are closed to this post. We offer this opportunity for our readers to take a moment of silence in deep respect to those whose lives were lost, both here and in Iraq.