The Last Day of the First Year

FTLComm - Tisdale - Sunday, December 30, 2001
benchmark Tomorrow is New Years Eve and we need to consider this past year and what it has done to us. The year 2001 will be one of those years historians will refer to as a benchmark as they will use it as they year when there was a significant change in the course of human events.
September 11 As I look back on this year it is remarkable to notice how so little occurred before September 11. Not that the year was uneventful but rather the events of Tuesday morning September 11 make everything else seem far less important.
Energy 2001 was the year that deregulation of energy in Southern California resulted in massive electrical shortages with the need for importation of significant amounts of power from Canada to fill the needs. While this was going on the stage was being set for the largest collapse of an energy company in modern history. Enron was a major player in this high financial foolishness and ultimately was destroyed by greed.
gasoline While California struggled with energy the price of gasoline climbed to values never before seen in North America and has now dropped to values not seen in decades. This close to ignition fluctuation in commodities and energy in particular can not be separated from the world's social and political conditions.
The political conditions in 2001 were simply on the skids for the whole year. The Israeli people were fed up with the lack of progress and they voted for the hard line guy Sharon to the top government spot while the Palestinians responded with day after day of insurrection and weekly suicide bombings. The deep and underlying resentment toward North America for its continued support of Israel was to be extended to new and unthinkable proportions in the year's 9th month.
technolgoy We have to consider that technology has truly matured and is now an established part of the way things are done on this planet. The United States has led the way in turning military conflict into a push button, remote controlled event. Other major powers are all following suit and the results will and have had devastating consequences.
robots Though the United States used technology in all other previous conflicts it was in the Gulf war and since that war that this country has felt the pinch from its people over war casualties The loss of more that fifty-thousand Americans in Vietnam has has made the American public unwilling to see this kind of loss of human life and has been willing to put up the tax dollars to build the robotic "smart bombs" and multi-million dollar weapons delivery systems that will allow the United States to inflict harm on others while not exposing its forces to danger.
civilians See this the disaffected and resentful folks of the Middle East made a decision and that decision was that since Americans would not fight fair then the true soldier of the American people was the individual civilian themselves. The horror of this decision will be years in sinking in but what happened has to be talked about over and over until we understand what happened. With the U.S. military conduction remote retaliations with robots the terrorists captured four aircraft loaded with people and flew them into three large buildings.
reactions It was in 2001, we will tell our grandchildren about how we learned of the attacks and what we were doing and what we felt at the time. In twenty years or so we will realise the silliness of the panic that gripped America and then the way politicians world wide reacted to the event will cause heads to shake for decades. The public who admired their cool at the time will in time think with amazement how everyone seemed unable to resist the pressure to implement totalitarian state measures and curtain the civil liberties people have struggled to acquire for centuries.
  Tomorrow we will look into the New Years crystal ball and discuss what to expect in the coming year.

Timothy W. Shire