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September 5th, 2004

For Whom the Bell Tolls

Sometimes I almost understand why the rest of the world hates Americans.

The headline about the Russian-hostage-school-tragedy was #2 on the-most-pressing-headlines-of-the-day. #1 was about people in Florida having no electricity because of the hurricane. Plainly that's much worse.

Had something like that happened here in America - had 380 + people, more than half of them children, been taken hostage and killed by terrorists it would be the-most-horrible-thing-in-the-world. People would be mortified, appalled and devastated - how could it happen here and to us? How do we survive this terrible, awful tragedy?

When it happens to someone else, it almost barely makes the headlines. We hear about it, read about it once or twice, think "oh my god how awful" and turn the page to the crossword puzzle or click off to find a recipe for dinner this evening. If it had happened here it would be all people could talk about - since it didn't it may come up in conversation a few times and then moved over. Unless it's happening to our country directly we seem to forget that whatever happens to any fellow human being is happening to each of us.

Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankind; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.
- John Donne, 1624

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