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12.9.01

I'm not feeling anything. Not numbness, or even shock. Just honestly nothing.

Well, that's not even precisely true anymore. I'm feeling bad because I didn't feel anything. I'm frustrated because life got disrupted and the mountain of work next to my computer hasn't been getting any shorter, and angry at myself for worrying about a petty thing like that. "You moron, tens of thousands of people died and you don't care."

I feel like I should cry, and be so distressed I can't concentrate on anything, and go to the meetings on campus looking for solace but unable to find it because no amount of discussion can bring people back to life. I don't mean in the sense that I have grief and rage inside that I need to let out. I feel like I should manufacture grief, find some way to force myself to be sad, just to prove I'm human.

I don't want revenge. I want to prevent things like this from happening again, but that's only in an intellectual sense. I don't want to get back at the people who did this. If we could prevent terrorism but leave the perpetrators of this act unscathed, I'd be all for it. Justice for justice's sake is meaningless to me.

And I feel bad because I'm not bothered by the loss of the New York skyline. I can understand how the lives of the people involved and the functioning of the world economy are important, but the fact that there's sky where there used to be skyscrapers isn't important to me. Granted, I've only been to New York city twice in my life, and I never did the usual tourity things there, but I'm still an American.

Before this, I would have considered this kind of emotional distance a virtue. I would have said that it's good to be able to keep your emotions, particularly bad ones, from getting the best of you. I would have said it's good to be able to look at a situation rationally. But I'm not so sure anymore. To everyone but me, "I feel your pain" isn't a cliche anymore.

Everyone else is writing about sadness and rage and horror. They're swearing more than usual. They're saying they can't understand. They want to kill Osama bin Laden, then bring him back to life and kill him again. They feel vulnerable, and fearful. And I sit here and point out stupid things that news anchors did.

Maybe there's some complex psychological reason for this. But I'm probably just a cold, selfish bastard.

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