Idle Thoughts

Rants, Raves, and Revelations . . . oh my!

At Long Last May 2, 2011

Filed under: Current Events,Writings — idlethoughtsblog @ 11:31 am
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Posted to the Wall Street Journal Facebook page

“Have you forgotten, how it felt that day? 

To see your homeland under fire

And her people blown away

Have you forgotten when those towers fell

We had neighbors still inside goin’ through a livin’ hell

And we vow to get the ones behind Bin Laden

Have you forgotten?”

~ Lyrics from “Have You Forgotten” sung by Darryl Worley


In a word, no.


On September 11, 2001, the American people were introduced to a man who would become the greatest symbol of evil of the 21st Century thus far. He was the face and the order behind the attacks on the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and another location still speculated, killing thousands and leaving a nation grieving and angry. This man, his ideology, and those who followed him sparked a war that has lasted almost ten years, costing the lives of thousands. While the British newspaper, The Independent, and M15 sources claim the terrorists who bombed the rush hour London subways on July 7, 2005 acted independently from Al Qaeda, it isn’t a stretch to think the bombers were influenced by a man I can now, finally, refer to in the past tense.


I’m ashamed as a journalism major to say that I found out about Osama bin Laden’s death through a Facebook status last night around ten-fifteen or so. According to a Wall Street Journal article, bin Laden was killed in a “targeted attack in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad, roughly 40 miles outside the capital city of Islamabad . . .” As of the last several news reports I’ve found, his body has been dumped into the sea (as if the world’s waters needed any more pollution) at no definitive location to avoid his burial ground becoming an extremist shrine. After more than ten years (another article in the WSJ tells me he’s been running since even before 9/11), he’s finally gone.


From what I understand, he was on dialysis. Personally, I think it would have been more fitting for him to live on until the end of his days, suffering through a disease than be killed as he was to become what some will call a martyr, but I’m just a college student. What do I know?


I logged into Facebook this morning again and saw another status among many praising our soldiers for a job well done and expressing happiness that bin Laden was no more. It said “Shame on us for rejoicing over Osama Bin Laden’s death…that’s another soul in Hell. Heaven surley [sic] isn’t rejoicing . . .” I’m inclined to say I agree.


Now, before anyone gets angry and breaks out the pitchforks about this, let me explain. As Christians, I, along with my friend, believe that we serve a merciful God who has no desire to see His creation burn in a place He designed for the ultimate evil, Satan. There’s no true joy in the death of a human being, even one as wicked as bin Laden. However, I can also agree with some of the comments I found when I just went to copy and paste the status. One, specifically.

“I agree with you 100%.  it [sic] is sad that he is burning in hell for eternity. However, we are all given the chance to choose God over Satan and he made his choice. I am not rejoicing that he is burning in hell, but I am happy for all those who lost loved ones on 9/11. maybe [sic] this can give them a little closure. I cant [sic] imagine how they felt on that day or how they feel today.”

When I think of the feelings going through America today, I don’t really think it’s joy, per se, though the expressions and the celebrations certainly make it sound that way. I see it as dark satisfaction, mixed with a sense of closure I think some Americans had given up on.


It’s a morale boost to our troops and our people, and a hit to the morale of Al Qaeda. In a way, it’s a grim breath of fresh air. It’s a historic moment and we can all feel it. We, along with people around the world, are happy he’s dead. It’s one less evil in a world with far too many as it is. It’s one less person of power bent on the destruction of Israel, America and our allies. It’s closure to a lot of Americans who lost sight of what we were fighting for. Oh, we were reminded from time to time that this is a war against terrorism – that our brave men and women are fighting for our right to live without fear of enemy attack on our own soil or elsewhere. We were told there were soldiers sent specifically to track down and put an end to bin Laden, but we hadn’t seen much in the way of results until now. To an even greater extent, it’s, I hope, some closure for those who received word that their loved ones were not coming home again on September 11. It’s, I hope, some closure for those who have received word these past ten years that their soldier is not returning to them at the end of their deployment. That we, really they, the soldiers, got ‘im.


I think there are a lot of us who don’t really know what to think. It’s all just too surreal. We’ll process it all after a while – after the months I anticipate the news outlets will cover the story and its aftermath, after some time to think – really think – about what this means to the world. It’s by no means an end to terrorism. There are enough independent cells operating throughout the world. There is enough anger at others for hatred that hot to still exist. Bin Laden’s death does not mean an end to this war (see the last two paragraphs of this article for added umph to my statement), though we’re a heck of a lot closer than we were on April 30th. Chances are, this event will put further strain on our relationship with Pakistan and I hope that doesn’t lead to more fighting there. I hope we can bring the soldiers home soon, but I know from what I see in the news from the region and what I’ve read and understood of biblical prophesy, peace in the Middle East will take much more than what we’re seeing right now. And it will only be the beginning to something much darker.


We’ll have to wait and see.


I can’t post this without giving credit to where it’s due. Our soldiers have faced great odds far from home and ridicule by some more radical anti-war groups and individuals here in the States.  I’d personally like to send those people to the middle of a battlefield to let them try to get the terrorists to sit down for a spot of tea to talk things over and come out on the winning side. Of course, we’d never see them again. Or maybe we would, considering the fact that our troops’ dedication to their people would never let them go there alone. Maybe I’m just crazy. Anyway.


So here’s to you, our brave warriors who never lost sight of what you were, and are, fighting for, even when so much of it seemed unclear. Whether or not you were at the site of bin Laden’s death, you were part of paving the way to bring an end to the face of the greatest symbol of evil since Hitler. I can’t speak for the rest of my countrymen, but you have my undying gratitude for risking your lives in service to your people and our nation.


Thank you.


Sigh of Relief December 1, 2010

Filed under: NaNoWriMo — idlethoughtsblog @ 10:34 am
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When I started out on this, we’ll call it a journey, I was afraid of not finishing.  After the curriculum change with the journalism department, I was taking a lot of multimedia classes with multimedia projects that would be eating up a lot of my time and brain energy.  How on earth was I going to make it to 50,000 words in a month?  Or two months?  I spent September planning my characters and outlining, welcoming the brief and far-between moments of epiphany that gave me insight to how different things in the story would take place.  Then October first came along and it was time to get started.  I patted myself on the back for writing more than 800 words a day, thinking I was doing well.  I was really high on myself on those nights when I would get more than 1,000 words written.  The congratulations more or less stopped, however, when I realized the story was not going to be able to finish in only 50,000 words and if I wanted to finish the story by the end of November, 1,000 words a day would need to be my norm.  When asked what my word goal would be when Cathy was making up the poster, I said my number goal was 70,000, thinking that would be plenty.  The story could be finished in that 20,000-word window and I wouldn’t feel bad for not hitting the higher number if the requirement was still only 50,000.  Wrong.  The story was finally finished last night around 10 p.m. and included, according to the NaNoWriMo site, 79,320 words, with, after I fill in the blanks I left for myself when I couldn’t come up with a name or needed to look something up, more to come.  There will be a lot of editing, too, as the big action of the story didn’t really happen until the eighth chapter or so.  A lot of bits and pieces I loved will have to be cut and will be copy-pasted to another document and stored away for future use on some other project.  But nothing will be lost, which makes writers feel a lot better after cutting up their brainchild.

One thing I liked was letting my characters surprise me.  I know that sounds cliché, but it’s true.  While most of the characters ended up where I wanted them, they took their own path on how to get there.  My villain changed, I think for the better, and was suitably evil while still being sympathetic, something I learned from The Perks of Being a Wallflower.  Looking back, I plan to do more present tense descriptions like I found in The Silence of the Lambs and maybe split some of the longer chapters into two, which I think might move the action along quicker and easier.  I had already done that with one chapter that was beginning to grow to ten or twelve pages, single-spaced, and I didn’t want any chapter to come even that close to the prologue (which sits now at eighteen pages, single-spaced).

I’m not going to say there was no stress involved in writing this monster, but I was pleasantly surprised at how little of it there was.  If anything, forcing myself to take time out of my day to sit and write was a stress relief.  I’ve been trying to get myself to do that for years, and it took a class assignment to get me to do it successfully.  If I’ve learned nothing else from this class, that would have been enough.

So do I plan on NaNoWri2Mo-ing again?  Definitely.  Will I continue the 750 words a day plan?  You betcha.  Aside from the revising, I have two started novels that need to be written and you’ll probably hear more about those soon.  But for now, I have a 600-word web story and sound slide presentation for News 221 to work on, at least two short non-fiction pieces and the revision of a longer essay to do for ENG 406, at least 20 pages (double-spaced) of revision for the aforementioned for ENG 407, editing an audio story and planning another for NEWS 132 to work on, so I need to get back to the work I’m actually getting credit for doing . . .