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Unknown: In the Shadow of 9/11

Author: Perspective by John Christopher Fine

Copyright: 9-1-1 Magazine, Feature Content

Date: 2011-09-10
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What is unknown we fear. It is the stuff of religion, superstition and occult. The cliff over which we dwell despite regimentation of thought that all will be well if only we participate in certain forms of conduct. From earliest cogent human thought there have been mental ploys to deal with death. Mental assurance that there will be life beyond that never ends. Life after death leads to pastures of heavenly bliss where the dead are reunited with loved ones and comforts are forever.

How much of this unknown we know is debatable. Some choose to know nothing of it and are content to disbelieve. Many are born into a system of beliefs that remain with them until death. Escape from certain religious persuasions is impossible since it brings the stigma not only of loss of faith but exile.

Most modern religions disdain conduct proscribed by the Ten Commandments. To the extent that believers consider the handing down of inscribed tablets to Moses by God plausible, there are literalists that choose to believe that the Holy Bible is correct from cover to cover. There are fundamentalists in Islam that believe completely as do Hindus and Buddhists in their system of ritual and faith.

The world of human behavior is intolerant. The Spanish Inquisition, carried into the Americas by zealots, saw indigenous peoples burned to death if they did not accept Catholicism. It was not long ago that men in white robes and hoods burned crosses to proclaim their hatred for a race of people based on the color of their skin. Suicide bombers give up their lives to inflict terror and mayhem on innocent people upon the belief that they are morally righteous. Northern Ireland has only recently come out of their ‘Troubles,’ that saw modern believers of two Christian sects commit atrocities in the name of the same God.

There will never be a solution to religious feuding. It is in the makeup of the human psyche. It wouldn’t happen at all if the unknown was known. All of this so far sounds philosophical, something first year students of religion might discuss in college. What much does religion have to do with nations and world affairs? Everything. What does the unknown have to do with religion? Everything.

Had the perpetrators of criminal acts that saw devastation in three areas of the U.S. on a beautiful day in September ten years ago known the unknown, their lives would have been spared as would those thousands of innocents they killed. How do we know? By everything that gives the human mind reign over human actions.

We know what is good and we know what is bad. There is such a thing and it is always clear. Distinction is only created by evil people to justify their conduct. Power does not make evil good. The super-dictator of Germany was evil but his evil was lauded by followers that carried out the most terrible tortures in his name. Did the charred remains of this dictator enter a heavenly state somewhere? Did life end on the gasoline doused floor of a concrete bunker in Berlin? Was the spirit of this evil man taken below to endure a devil’s torture for eternity? Most people would like to think that eternal torture resulted from his evil life. Many would say: dead is dead. Some regale him still in an occult of hatred and prejudice.

As the weather moderates toward fall and we again contemplate the events of September 11, 2001, perhaps having lost loved ones and friends that suffered in the terrible tragedy in New York City, on a field in Pennsylvania and in Washington DC, think of those that continue to fulfill their life by committing acts of terror. Those born of hatred and those yet unborn that will live nurtured by hatred with belief that if they sacrifice their young lives in the cause of righteous Islam they will live forever.

The unknown is a far more powerful motivating force than even greed, another doer of evil. Those that are promised eternal life in exchange for terrible deeds on earth can be taught to love. It will not be by bombing villages or occupying primitive hamlets. War only reinforces their belief created by evil men clothed with the cloak of righteousness. No war will get them all and the belief structure that creates the atmosphere of evil breeds and feeds on oppression.

If you don’t know what to do, try forgiveness. It has worked since the dawn of man and is inculcated in the very root of most organized belief structures. When hatred is removed there is a reawakening of good. With good we can face the unknown. We still may not know more than a feeling of well being and peace that pervades our spirits; yet in life and for the eternal, that is enough.

Photo by John C. Fine

John Christopher Fine is a former New York Senior Assistant District Attorney, Assistant Attorney General in Charge Organized Crime Task Force, U.S. State Department Official and Special Counsel to the U.S. Senate.  Considered a foremost authority on organized crime and political corruption, Fine, a lawyer in private practice, continues to act as a government consultant and author of magazine articles on law enforcement and crime issues. 


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