Unprecedented action takes unprecedented decision making. There is no history to rely on, nothing that has happened in the past to compare. While we have the thought that a return to “normalcy” is important, it is our very resilience that can make us vulnerable again.
Our enemy in this war is evil, but he is also smart. He has studied us, studied our culture, and our reactions. He knows we have a nearly maniacal drive to show that our way of life can’t be disrupted, that we won’t be deterred from our freedom. And we won’t be. But a rush to judgement because of our desire to return to normal would be rash. In fact, our whole idea of normal has to change. If we go back to our day to day lives without an altered sense of what is normal, then those people who were victims of this atrocity will have died in vain. It’s naďve to think that the government can ensure our security. We cannot live in a closed society of fear, but we must understand the risks. That’s why our security is our personal responsibility. An awareness of our surroundings is paramount to our safety.
The arguments regarding whether the sports world should pick up this weekend are equally powerful. One side says it’s important to let our enemies know that they can’t disrupt our way of life through the symbolic playing of games. That the games will provide a much needed distraction for a grieving American public. Another side says it’s time to mourn. That a weekend without sports would give people a true time to reflect, to spend time with their families, to deal with their grief on their own level. That putting airliners back in the sky with large stadiums full of 60,000 fans would be too inviting of a target for a cunning, evil enemy. And there’s a third argument. And it’s that the very fact that there are differing opinions and different actions taken is the essence of our freedom.
Instead of receding, this tragedy is getting larger. The numbers are becoming faces and families with the grim reality that it will probably get worse before it gets better. That’s why I don’t think they should play games this weekend. While the games would be symbols of freedom, it would be asking too much of our athletes to bear that burden. Is it fair to ask them to play games within sight of the wreckage where bodies are being extracted? Will we be able to attend as fans, to cheer without guilt, to conjure up a dislike for the opponent?
My biggest fear is that it is not over. But perhaps a larger cloud that hangs over this discussion is that those who say “play” will call those who say “don’t play”, wimps. And those who say “don’t play” will call those who say “play” lunatics. If that what it degenerates to, then the enemy has won.