October 5, 2001

Almost a month ago I was headed to Court when I heard on 99.5 that an airplane had struck The World Trade Center. The hearing went well for me (the attorney on the other side had failed to get the case set by the Court and had served notice on my client, not on me ...) and I headed back to the office.  The route I took, the underground, passed by several television sets.

I don't think my feelings or reflections really count for more than anyone elses.  I don't feel a need to recount them here.

Earlier in the month I got to see my mom and dad.  They dropped by for a visit before they left on another volunteer mission.  This time it is Korea.  They had gotten an assignment for South America and it got changed to Korea, delaying it a little.  My dad is excited at the thought of returning, my mom sees it as an adventure.

I was so glad to see them.

September is such a month.  It begins following the anniversary of Robin's death.  Rachel has grown out of the "baby" stage and is, honestly, now much larger than Courtney was, even though she hasn't gotten to two years of age.  She isn't like Courtney, she is so much her own person.  Heather has grown so, it scares me sometimes.  She is such a good kid though.

But September was a hard month.

Now I'm adjusting to Win starting her residency in anesthesia.  It is "only" fourteen more months.  I sure do love her and we are all so proud of her.  Every night Heather and I read scripture together.  Since Win needs to be in bed, we record it for her and she plays it in the morning.  We are a family, even Rachel baby (who is now a fearsome toddler, still in non-stop action).

I wish I had more to say, or a better way to say it.  Perhaps if I knew better which way the future will go.

I keep writing this on-line journal because of the people who keep reading it, and who keep writing me.  I appreciate the letters, the e-mails and the occasional guestbook comment.  I did have to remind one poster of the terms of service (tos) because he kept wanting to use the guestbook to post links to his hardcore sex site.  That appears to be over.  Everyone else has been very kind -- such is the way of life <g>.

My thanks to those who write and comment.

October 20, 2001

The monument company that did Jessica and Courtney's markers was sold as the owner retired.

The new people are poor country folk.  I hadn't realized how far Wichita Falls had fallen.

They are good people, but they drive twenty year old cars in 60 or so miles in every day to make a living.  They lost their artist.

Robin's marker was finished by them.

It is hideous.  The stone is close, but not the same as her sister's.  The fonts (yes, the marker has multiple fonts) don't match, and one is pretty bad.  They cut the dates in wrong, filled them in with epoxy and did them again.  The artwork is pretty bad.

Win said "at least it is done."  With her in school, things have been very tight financially.  The law firm I work for lost a major client a year ago and while it has recovered from that, there are other, major financial issues.  At least I work the most hours and am the most productive lawyer in the firm (one of my partners pointed that out to me).  Have been since I arrived there. Anyway, we've been paying off some debt left over from the girl's deaths and had promised ourselves a matching marker for Robin when we hit a major milestone on that process.  

If the people who did this were not such poor, poor people I'd feel freer to be angry at them.  They just lack the ability to do better.  The other guy, who did such a good job, just got too old to continue.

We went to Wichita Falls to finally see the marker and to attend a baptism for a friend (the babysitter for Jessica and Courtney was having her step-daughter baptized).

If I had the money, I'd get it fixed.  When Win finishes her residency, we will get it fixed.  Until then, I'll remind myself that we finally were able to get Robin a marker and I'll just not look at it (pretty easy since it is a 5-6 hour round trip out there to see it).


In other news, I got a vitae -- a c.v. style vitae -- done by a professional.  I've thought of doing more mediation or of teaching more and this will work for both.  ../smarsh/resume.htm.  I really don't know, my life has such a big gaping hole in it, I don't know what to do with it sometimes.  I finally did distribute my vitae to some of the judges at the courthouse.  I need to start emphasizing that part of my practice.  Sometimes I mediate just enough to be on top of the process when I'm representing clients.  Sometimes I mediate more, because I want to mediate.


Rachel gave us a scare.  She went for Win's herb tea that Heather had just made and pulled just about boiling water down on herself.  Luckily she had on her bib overalls, the water wasn't as hot as it could have been, and she escaped without more than a small burn that looks like a sunburn (no blistering, the ER room sent her home and she had a wonderful trip to the park with me when I got home from work).

It was terrible to get the phone call about it though.  Just about destroyed me to be at work on a Saturday and to get that call and to be so far away (ok, only about 20-30 miles but it seems like infinity in Dallas).

October 30, 2001

Tomorrow Rachel will be the same age Courtney was when she died.  Scares me some times to think of that.  Daylight savings time ended and it has disrupted her schedule just a little.  She has been cranky (which is strange for her, she is always such a happy child) and not happy to go to bed (she loves her bed).

Well, we will get through tomorrow.

http://lawpreview.com/Atticus_Archive_9_19_01.html#5 is where a summary of some thoughts of mine can be found on-line.

        I generally comment on essays with comments written to the author, not to other readers.  This comment is directed to other readers of Atticus's essays on terrorism, the world trade center, and related matters.

        Atticus says a great many things.  Some I agree with, some I disagree with, some I would have said differently, but with the same bottom lines.

        My (deceased) eldest daughter's best friend was Jewish.  Last night two of my partners celebrated the Jewish New Year.  My eldest living daughter eats lunch every day with a Moslem (from Pakistan) a Hindu (from India) and a fellow Mormon (from Texas). (She also has a second Moslem, from India, at her table).

        Much of America is getting to be more and more like my daughter's lunch table, but there are two important rules that most people forget (they are the same rules for dating, by the way, or for dealing with clients).  

First, Other people are just like me.  
, Other people aren't just like me.  

        The truths of international relations are the same as many of the truths in race relations or dating.  Race relations would be much different if Blacks actually were different from Whites in needs, abilities, potential or hopes.  They would also be different if Blacks were the same as Whites in background and other areas. Many young people gain their first major breakthrough in human relations when they realize that the other sex is human too.  As for international relations, North Viet Nam gained much of its philosophical strength from studies of how the American Revolutionary War succeeded against the overwhelming strength of the British.  They revolted against the French not because they opposed our values but because they embraced the strongest of them.  (Yes, I know that there is much, much more to that story, but this is a key part of why Viet Nam today still feels that we need to get over the war and become their allies.  They see that issue as an important long range goal that fits their national interests, needs and philosophy).

        Only in talking with other lawyers pr dispute resolution professionals would I put the premises first, rather than writing an inverse pyramid.  But sometimes things are just too hard to understand without a foundation.

        The fact is that the people we are dealing with, our friends, our enemies and the vast majority of people who are just standing around, are all human beings like us.  But they also have their experiences, their culture and their perspectives, not to mention they differ in the importance they place on things.  To fail to understand either of those two points is to fail to understand how the only Moslem and the only Hindi in a grade can end up at the same small lunch table -- because while they do not share many things, they do share some core values.

        In dealing with what we call terrorists, it is important to remember, as Atticus points out, that they do not think of themselves as cowards.  After all, they were willing to die for their cause.  They do not think of themselves as striking by surprise because they see themselves as striking back at their targets in retaliation for past aggression by the target, not striking at.  They see themselves in the same role as the American Patriots in the Revolutionary War, who did not drill in open columns but fired from cover.  We see that as a show of Yankee intelligence -- to fight in a way that our enemies could not easily counter, so do they see what they do as a show of intelligence to fight back with the only effective tools they have.

        Those who see themselves as "striking back" also see us as the source of most of the terror.  They see terror attacks in the use of cruise missiles from hundreds of miles away---and the use of those missiles to strike against aspirin factories (actually, the only source of anti-malaria drugs in all of Sudan)---which strikes were launched because of faulty intelligence, and which were widely perceived as a ploy to draw attention away from the heavy-petting scandal in Washington.  Much of the world was understanding when the Chinese embassy was struck in what was Yugoslavia -- that seemed an accident of the type that happens in war.  But blowing up the only source of anti-malaria drugs and killing an innocent night watchman by using weapons where you can fire them off safely from hundreds (or thousands) of miles away without looking your opponent in the face (man-to-man, so to speak) is still widely seen as cowardly, dastardly and a crime engaged in for petty domestic political reasons.

        The group we think of as terrorists see terror in nuclear weapons and terrorism in the U.S. having such weapons -- cruise missiles, bio and chemical weapons, nuclear and other devices -- and our keeping them from everyone else.  They see the threat of the use of such weapons as terrorism of the highest order.  They see the hand of terrorism in the techniques used to keep power---and used by every regime perceived (rightly or wrongly) as being corrupt and installed by foreign interests, and in "foreign offices" (the trade name for intelligence and foreign services) and multinationals.  All of these are acts by the powerful against the weak, taken without risk, and with great profit.  To many, we are the cowards and terrorists--while they are willing to die, without profit, fighting the powerful on behalf of the weak.

        Honestly, most "installed" regimes actually took power on their own and co-opted the available resources in order to consolidate and exploit the power that they had, often as part of the cold war.  Many "installed" regimes (e.g., Algeria) were not installed by anyone and were actually opposed by Western interests.  That doesn't change perspectives, sadly.

        Most multinationals are just trying to do business (e.g., no one accuses IBM of taking over a government, and Microsoft hasn't corrupted any officials other than U.S. Congressmen bought back from competitors).  But it is pretty easy for a business to just take the path of least resistance and the most money.  You can see what happens.  Political types cooperate with whoever looks like the military ally of the moment, whether it be Stalin or Hitler.  Businesses cut contracts with whoever has access to the raw materials and the markets.  They feed on each other.

        Regular citizens are often not happy in the affected areas are not happy, be it in the United States or abroad.  You can read about it as a multinational buys the right to cut down the forest in which someone else lives from a politician whose authority comes by an annexation of a neighbor.  Whether the transaction is benign or malign is more of an accident than intent.  You will get to much of that in law school when you get to the strip mining breach of contract cases.  "Mining company buys mineral rights and the contract includes a promise to restore the surface estate -- the rest of the story makes what you will study in law school."

        At the end, the mining company walks away from the contract and the court says that performance isn't feasible.  In the third world the difference is often that no one promises the locals that the damage will be fixed and the payments go not to the people on the land but to whoever has power over them.

        These people look at the guns, the tanks, the airplanes and the nuclear weapons of those they see as benefiting from what has been done.  If their lives are intolerable enough, they then look for a means to strike back.

        What the current bogeyman has done is given them the means, using a method he thought was foolproof.  What he did was provide training and seed money, but no actual targets -- at least at first.  Kind of like a guy who sells copies of the Anarchist's Cookbook, but who doesn't provide target lists.  Is he then responsible when people blow each other up, or is he protected by the right of free speech?  What if he has classes that go along with the book?  What if he gives you a scholarship to the classes, given after you complete them with good grades.

        Now that kind of operation requires a nation state as a launch pad.  It requires a safe haven to store the money that fuels it and to run the schools.  In running, in existing, it makes the difference between a suicide driver who drives a bus into a crowd of Israelis and Arabs at a bus stop and a person who purchases training and who hijacks an airliner and then flies it into the Pentagon.

        You can do dramatic things to reduce the impact of terrorism and its effectiveness by denying it high quality sponsorship and training, much like disbanding Quantrell's Raiders ended the promulgation of commerce raiding, leaving only the James gang and its spin-offs, each getting less and less competent until the last group shot their way into a bank with one entrance (and thus only one exit) and no hostages.

        Once you've denied a terrorist group a safe haven to operate from and to train from, you are back to the occasional individual with high motivation and skills (the modern criminal terrorist discussed in Atticus' article, such as Timothy McViegh, decorated American war hero) and the people whose lives are so intensely miserable they feel as if they have no other choice (but who do not have access to the skills, training, or travel funds to cause much trouble other than locally).  You have converted international terrorism into local terrorism.

        From our perspective, that is a push of things back to normal, though it does not resolve the root problems or issues.

        Those are addressed by:

        (1) The collapse of the cold war.  With that collapse, there is far less of a push for the type of relationships that gave rise to the hideous abuses of Nicaragua or Iran going unchecked and unchallenged.

        (2) Pushing for civil rights for everyone.  While Jimmy Carter may still despise the American people for voting him out of office, you've got to admit that the man does a lot of good by taking his act on the road.  The more often we stand for our principles rather than our pocket books, the less often we give people a motive to give in to despair.

        (3) Ending State sponsorship of terrorism.  It used to be an easy way to gain prestige and importance in the world -- just sponsor small acts of terrorism.  The balance was always between doing enough harm to get noticed, but not doing so much that it prompted a bombing raid on your palace or home.  The trade center attack was seriously out of balance in that regards -- not to mention so terribly broad (destroying offices of over seventy countries and killing or injuring their nationals) that even those who sponsored terrorism are drawing back at claiming any support or sympathy for that act.

        (4) Continuing to push for fair treatment of people in America and abroad.  Every Pakistani who is treated fairly in America is one who writes home to their family about this land (and, as my sarcastic partner would say, one more new face at the dry cleaner).  The same is true of other groups.  That poor family that lost their jobs, and that got the last cash we had (after Win and I drew it out of the bank) was Pakistani.  The natural (and unfair) targets in America are among the weakest and most needing of our kindness and care.

        (5) Codes of conduct for multinationals who sell goods or services in the United States.  Not only does this give college students something to do, now that Apartheid and the Viet Nam war aren't around to protest, in a very real sense this improves America's image and interests.  It also helps prevent us from being complicit in third world atrocities.

        Yes, it is important to realize that terrorists are a small minority of any group and that they have much less international support than they suspect or hope for, witness both Pakistan and Iran closing their borders with Afghanistan.  Yes, it is important to realize that in many ways, today's Arab in the United States fits the same place that the Japanese had in the 1940s (and, we can hope, will add the same vitality and strength to America that the Japanese-Americans add to it today) or that the Chinese had in the 1890s.  Yes, it is important to realize that other people have proud heritages as well (though we need to be careful of not glorifying them unreasonably -- but that is another essay).

        But above all else, it is important to:

        (1) remember and be true to our core values,

        (2) remember that the rest of the world is filled with humans who are just like us because of their needs and hopes,

        (3) remember that the rest of the world is filled with humans who are not like us because of their experience and perspectives ... but     who are humans who will respond as we do to our core values if we only share them.

        That is the way for our values and our way of life to survive and thrive.

Journal Entries Index
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A New Year
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