September 14, 2001
The way I see it, there are two types of bad people in this world: idiots and assholes.
It's important to note that these aren't static types. We've all been idiots, or assholes, or both, at one time or another. But we shouldn't, and we really don't have to be.
Idiots are people who can't understand why you think they're doing something wrong. Try to explain to an idiot why he shouldn't back up his car on the freeway, and he'll just give you a blank stare. He doesn't know why you have a problem with his behavior. It's beyond his ability to comprehend.
Assholes are the people who know what they're doing is wrong, and don't care, for any variety of reasons. Assholes are the people who hijack airplanes and crash them into buildings. Assholes are the people who bomb abortion clinics. Assholes are murderers, kidnappers, rapists, vandals, and thieves.
What causes people to behave like idiots or assholes? Lots of things: ignorance, misunderstanding, prejudice. Any of these can be remedied, but somebody has to be willing to listen to you before you can talk to them about anything.
I'm perfectly willing to talk to an idiot to clear up a misunderstanding. Unless he's one of those very special people whom I like to call TOTAL FUCKING IDIOTS, I think I've got a chance of getting through.
Prejudice is a little harder. You can't easily stop someone from thinking or feeling something they've been carefully taught for years. That takes time and effort. But you can stop people from acting on their worst impulses. It may be just talk, but words can get very ugly. Talk back.
On the other hand, I have no patience with assholes. If you resort to violence before making any reasonable effort to negotiate a resolution, you remove yourself from civilization and humanity. If you can spend months or years planning a terrorist attack, you can damn well spend five minutes thinking about whether and how you could take any other action which doesn't involve murder.
Idiots may cause accidents, but assholes are willfully destructive. And I have no problem with putting down a wild animal to save human lives.
==== "You monster. You beast. You unspeakable bastard. "What lesson did you hope to teach us by your coward's attack on our World Trade Center, our Pentagon, us? What was it you hoped we would learn? Whatever it was, please know that you failed. "Did you want us to respect your cause? You just damned your cause. "Did you want to make us fear? You just steeled our resolve. "Did you want to tear us apart? You just brought us together." -- Leonard Pitts Jr. "Life goes on." -- The Beatles "I will not have my schedule dictated to me by terrorists." -- Patriot Games "They may take our lives, but they'll never take our freedom." -- Braveheart "Bottom line is, even if you see 'em coming, you're not ready for the big moments. No one asks for their life to change, not really. But it does. So what are we, helpless? Puppets? No. The big moments are gonna come, you can't help that. It's what you do afterwards that counts. That's when you find out who you are." -- Whistler Are there more attacks to come? Will next week be even worse than this week? I don't know. But I've never been a gambling man. I choose to live as I would live otherwise-- suffering extraordinary pain and anguish, yes, but I will not allow my schedule to be dictated by terrorists. My life is my own. You're going to blame American foreign policy for this? News flash, asshole: nothing justifies murder. Theodore Kaczynski, the Unabomber, was a fucking psycho. Serial killers don't have "good reasons" for their crimes. Nothing can excuse the evils of Adolf Hitler or Osama bin Laden. No matter how atrocious certain American policies and actions may have been, our misdeeds do not justify your violence. Nothing drove you to these actions. You CHOSE to murder innocent people. And you chose poorly. ====
"Osama bin Laden, our blood-drenched terrorist enemy, is not exactly one of your huddled masses. He is a Saudi prince! Abdel Rahman, architect of the first World Trade Center bombing, is a sheik! Brutalization is not their problem. They are brutes! Like other radical zealots, they are driven by the fanatic conviction that God is on their side and those who do not share their faith -- in our case, Christians and Jews -- are infidels worthy of destruction... This holy war is not about American acts. It is about who we are. It is not a war that can be negotiated. It is them or us."
David Horowitz, columnist for Salon.com