When I was out getting lunch today someone came up to me and quietly excused himself. Under his breath he asked me, “Which way is Ground Zero®?”
He almost sounded ashamed, like I would be offended that he not know where it is.
I was offended, sure, but not because he wasn’t as informed about our great national tragedy as he ought to be.
I was offended because that place isn’t a fucking tourist spot and regardless of why he was headed there, that guy represented to me any one of the thousands of people I’ve seen standing around staring at that hole in the ground in somber silence.
You don’t go there to take pictures. You don’t go there to try and identify with something. You don’t go there to buy a motherfucking NYFD hat because you know a volunteer firefighter back in Ohio and he’s a hero too. You go there to take a train because there’s a big PATH station below it and that’ll take you off our island and back to Jersey where you can drive away.
If you didn’t live here when it happened, if you didn’t see them fall from less than a mile away, if you didn’t know anyone who died in there on that day, then it’s not your tragedy. It’s not your tragedy because no matter what the news tells you, no terrorist will ever target a mall in North Dakota. Just paying taxes in this country doesn’t mean you get to go there and get filled up with some kind of phony spiritualism six years after the fact.
So if it wasn’t your tragedy and you’re standing around snapping shots of the world’s slowest construction project and you’re saddened by the senseless, preventable loss of life… then logically you should be just as upset that ten times that number die every day in even more preventable fashions all over the world.
You should be outraged, in fact.
What are you doing standing around?
Go find a Red Cross office and volunteer.