Standing on One Side

I begin to wonder, expecting this to happen, how people I might cross in an avenue would be laid waste because of an idea that is perpetuated by an impression of some inequitable situation. Nature seeks equilibrium even if it is only in the mind of someone, who sees injustice, and has been given cause. And that idea is never brought to light in the face of the “enemy,” which face-to-face is actually just another person.

I would not kill another person, on my own, certainly in connection to, in full awareness of them, but perhaps I would, knowing their very deepest thoughts and potential.

I pause.

Seeing the complexity in a moment and depending on where I stood, I might understand the assassination of Bin Laden, for example, or his various and sundry generals, loath them in their preparation in propaganda videos, but I am guilty.

I am guilty of taking a side in the morass of the gray smoke. Three people have died and 130 were injured by last count. How can I not side with those I might have known, more likely than those who have wounded and killed?

But I was expecting this. I was expecting death and someday it will be someone I have known and probably even myself black-eyed and broken never to be returned to that place, where I am writing this. But, it isn’t going to be, I think, the wounds that a terrorist might inflict, rather it will be conducted by a stray victim of the wounds of the real war. Everything is economic. It isn’t about age, pregnancy, national origin, race, ethnic background, religious belief, or sexual orientation. It is about money, the root of all evil.

Who has created this avarice but those who have benefited from these so-called “wars?” And I have benefited, and so have you.

Death is a lie; God has said so, but we all die, and we kill each other, taking full advantage of the dumb sucker, who doesn’t heed “buyer beware.” Beware that you are a party to the inexpensive cost of a garment purchased for only $19. The person who made it in Bangladesh or Indonesia was paid only a nickel. Buyers beware of the oil in your car that was siphoned off the land of someone you have never met.

Is there an enemy? What would bring this person to kill? Is it insanity? Is it illogical deduction? Is it being so distanced that there is no feeling?

No, there is a place, where you stand at the corner of empathy and knowledge, and sure we are going to find and punish these traitors to better judgment and nary we forget that this could just as easily be staged; at least in our minds, it is possible. We too can be victims of an idea and be caused to act on it. This is the greatest sadness, which is that we cannot know the truth unless we have ourselves to forget. We are forever standing on one side or the other. And at a point in time, we may be driven to compensate for the loss.


  1. When I see a man in a wheelchair, his lower legs now just the tibia as a sharp stick and nothing more, the ligaments jutting into space near his knee, when I see the blood and understand how a pressure cooker filled with ball bearings and nails wrecks everything, not like the single fissure made by a bullet that passes through the body, I am brought to a place that simply cannot conceive of justification or an understanding of what might have been going through this person’s head, who made these bombs and placed them.

  2. I see this short story as a deep reflection upon the individual position, what you do, think, and feel in the world, and a part of the collective and the specific community you belong to. I think it basically deals with the inevitability to stand on one side of a group of human beings when there is a conflict, a war with another group of humans, another community such as the United States against Bin Laden and his community. This specific example becomes universal as the reader can relate it to the general problem humanity and the individual have. Dominant feelings the reader gets are: RAGE, ANGER and SADNESS through a lack of understanding among human beings.

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