I left school on last Monday to get onto the normally congested 405, only to find the right two lanes almost not moving at all. My cell phone rang, it was my friend calling to let me know that there were blackouts all over the city. All I wanted to do was get home, but home was nearly 20 miles away from the campus. I sat in the car, and tried to find a station that was giving some logical explanation for the power outage. I would understand if it had been 100 degrees outside, but it was only in the low eighties.
Then I spoke to the voice of doom, my mother. She told me that someone had cut the power lines. To make things worse she repeated the words of one of the members of al Qaeda who so eloquently spoke the day prior, which just happened to be Sept. 11, that Los Angeles was the next to be attacked. She then abruptly hung up.
I glided along between thirty to zero mph, intermittently going into panic. I sat there and thought the worst, “the terrorists will wait till nightfall to get us. They will crawl through our streets on a rampage of annihilation that will make Sept. 11 look like a drill.”
I just told myself to drive, and drive I did. I got onto the 101 East, pulling off onto my exit at Laurel Canyon, with nowhere to go. I randomly saw a friend of mine two car lanes over. He yelled “Stock up on water and food. Stay at home. It’s going to be complete pandemonium.” I stand corrected; this was the voice of doom.
He made a left, I a right. I sat in the car and watched three young boys sitting on their roof watching the standstill. I imagined snipers. My mind then ran to bombs, mass destruction and nowhere to go. In this town we depend so dearly on our cars, but we could not move. If they did attack, we would be sitting ducks.
Eventually I made it home. Home to write this. And you are reading this, so everything is okay. At least for now.
When did this happen? Obviously we all know the answer. But remember four years ago when a plane was just something that transported people from destination to destination. Anthrax was an awesome metal band. And a blackout was just that, a blackout. It was an inconvenience, a reason for a baby boom and for the younger ones a time to tell the scariest stories of all time.
Now the scariest stories that were once told holding a flashlight, are in the minds of the terrorists and, worse yet, in our minds. It has been instilled in us, we have bought in to fear. After seeing the chaos in New Orleans, and the lack of care, we must ask ourselves ‘What if it happened here?’ Well, that’s just it. We don’t know. We’ve seen two actions in this country. One, if it’s confined we can handle it. Two, if it’s big, we point fingers and if you are of a lower class you better learn to speak Arabic, because you will be left in the trenches.
Will America be there for us? I don’t want to encourage arming our neighborhoods with an arsenal of vigilantes nor do I not want us to be unprepared.
The way things look at this current state, it does not appear that we will be protected by our great motherland, boys and girls. Do we blame Bush? Sure, that’s fun to do, but as much as he is not my president, I don’t believe that he enjoys the deaths of our citizens. So what do we do? Have a sit in? A love in? Well, that one sounds good, but seriously, this is something that we have a fear of everyday. And honestly there is no answer.
Amy De Vore is a junior journalism major.