Dan’s Papers September 9, 2011 danshamptons.com Page 20
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without parole, “I do hope that you will spend some of the time in prison thinking carefully about whether the Koran wants you to kill lots of people.” Shahzad replied: “The Koran gives us the right to defend.” This is true. “And that’s all I’m doing.” Not true. Perhaps the answer has finally come in what we currently call “the Arab Spring.” The young people in much of the Arab world began last year a revolt against their leaders, expressing outrage at the brutal behavior of many of these leaders, religious and otherwise, and a determination to embrace personal freedom and democracy. This is the Arab young people’s answer to some of their elders’ disregard for human life.
Finally, there has been our reaction to 9/11. It has been swift, effective and relentless. There are two parts to it. We have raised our defenses, set up alerts, invoked “if you see something, say something,” and have, during these past 10 years, dramatically reduced the number of attacks on us that otherwise might have occurred. And we have gone on the offensive. After some debate about civil laws and personal freedoms, we have come to the conclusion as Lincoln did in his time and as F.D.R. did in his time, that if a certain group of people want to kill us for sport or zealotry, we will kill them before they can get a chance to do that. Finally, it is worth noting that at no time in modern history has a group of fanatics ever
had their way with civilized society. Different cult groups, egged on by religious leaders, have sprung up and randomly killed people in Japan, in Egypt and in Russia in recent years, and they have at every turn been attacked by existing governments, their leadership destroyed, their followers discouraged and come to their senses and, in the end, all of it went away. That shall happen this time too. And yet, we shall not forget 9/11. We will re-live it in the next few days, revel in the bravery of our police, firemen, medical teams and the heroic passengers on United Flight 93 in Pennsylvania, grieve for those gone, and will come once again as we did back then, to the conclusion that we live in a good country with good values and a respect for God’s Ten Commandments, that we will defend it and that we must in the end rid this earth of those who would kill people at random for little more than what amounts to sport.
courage, strength and sweetness. Some cited his crisp demeanor, always in a suit jacket, not a hair out of place. I remember him that way too: smart and sweet and funny; neat as a pin, supportive and school spirited. An all-round good guy. Did Karpiloff and Rescorla know each other? Chances are they did. After all, Rescorla was in charge of security for one of the biggest tenants in the complex over which Doug presided. Did they pass each other on the way in or out that day and give each other support? We’ll never know, but I would like to think that Doug was more than a minor player in Rescorla’s life story, which has been performed in different ways on the world’s stage. I look forward to attending the opera Heart of a Soldier when it comes to New York, as it surely will. It stars baritone Thomas Hampson as Rescorla and features Jimi Hendrix-style music from the Vietnam period, as well as the haunting bagpipe tunes of Rescorla’s native Cornwall. It is reported that Rescorla sang these native Cornish ballads in the stairwell on 9/11 in an effort to keep people calm. Did Douglas Karpiloff hear them too? Was it soothing? Are they singing each to each?
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So that was it. On their return to Connecticut, Christopher Vail was discharged from that militia and then went to New London where he signed up to be on the crew of the Continental Schooner Miflin, whose captain was John Kerr. And so, he was, along with this crew, off to sea, to harass British shipping as best they could, but that’s a whole other story. St. Michaels fooled the British? Sag Harbor rounded up a bunch of drunks. It was a sloppy business, but it sure beat out hiding in the woods or running for cover. Here’s a slogan. “They Caught the British with Their Pants Down.”
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