Stop Hate 2000 Newsletter September 11, 2001

Dear Friends,

We're writing this about three hours after the first attack on the World Trade Center. Events just take over on occasion. There's so much we don't know at the time of writing. But there's still some things which we can say.

The things which nations do are extensions of what the individuals who make them up do. There is a link between attacks on individuals who belong to groups we don't like, attacks such as the Oklahoma City bombing, or today's attacks. It hasn't yet come to formal war, but, if it did, it would just be a further extension.

We are so interdependent on each other. Neither individuals nor nations can withdraw from everybody else: you won't be able to escape the effects of others' actions. Nor can you ever know how far your actions affect others, whether for better or for worse. In the encounter between Europeans and native Americans, the effects of the European arrival preceded the Europeans themselves by up to a century. As we write, some of the experts are telling us today's events can't be prevented once somebody has made up their minds to do them. As President Kennedy remarked one week before he dies, anybody willing to give up his own life would have no trouble taking his.

Second, we are so often tempted to think ANY action is justified if it's in a good cause. No doubt, those who perpetrated today's atrocities thought so. No doubt, they could point to the wrongs done to them or theirs. Timothy McVeigh certainly thought so: to the end, he thought of himself as simply a soldier doing his duty. Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold were exercising a more private revenge at Columbine High, but it wasn't all that different. It may not have been with Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson. The world is full of tragedies caused by this attitude.

Third, as we write, we have to recognize how much we don't know. At the time of the Oklahoma City bombing, it took a while to realize that it wasn't an international act of terrorism, but a domestic one. It may take some time to work out who did what, and why they did it. In these circumstances, there's all the more reason to take note of the smaller things we can do. because these small things do add up. It is coming on to Random Acts of Kindness Week, and David Lehning has posted a posting regarding that on our message board. These DO matter. They speak to the basic attitudes we use towards to each other. And, to repeat, the way nations behave is an extension of how individuals behave.

There's an added reason to note the third annual 18 hour prayer vigil being held at St.Louis starting on October 6 at 7pm. It had previously been held during the exact 18 hours Matthew Shepard lay tied to a post, dying. It isn't strictly a vigil for him, but rather a time of prayer and sharing looking for an end of violence against all people. John Todd has posted the details on our message board, and we hope you'll look at it for more details. John is looking for letters or tapes from family or friends of victims of violence, or the victims himself.

More than ever, we have to resolve not to give up. Let's resolve to keep on, as we pick up the threads from summer. With hearts full of thoughts for today's victims.

The Stop Hate 2000 e-Team

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