It’s Kinda Personal

Since the killing of Osama Bin Laden, people have been telling others what to feel, how to express it, and what it means.

I find this very odd.    We know what’s in the minds and makeup of each person to make that judgement.  I think not!

I thought back to a time when I was growing up, the 50s and 60s.   Yes, it’s true, those were very trying times.  It wasn’t all drive-in’s and Elvis.  We had the BOMB!  Problem is so did they. It was the Nuclear age.  Talk of it was everywhere – movies, TV, newspapers and conversation.

There was no sure fire fix like the duct tape and plastic that Tom Ridge suggested we all have on hand after 9/11.  We had it much easier,  all we had to do was duck and cover.  Yeah you’ve seen those silly cartoons.  Public service announcements of sorts were everywhere.  Bomb shelters were also very big.  I’m sure they were very expensive but almost every neighborhood had a few.  TV shows like the Twilight Zone scared the crap out of me as they would have some stories based on the “Last People on Earth”.  There also were a fair share of movies that dealt with the subject, many with a wink.

The constant theme of the times was be afraid!  Yes, be very afraid.   Those were the days of sonic busting jets which routinely crashed through the sound barrier.  It was so prevalent that us kids would look up into the sky as we heard a jet approach and just as a matter of course we’d cover our ears.  Awesome!

School was not a sanctuary from fear.  Indeed not, as when the air raid siren blew all would get under their desks.  What better way to survive nuclear disaster than to duck and cover.  Man we were so gullible.

Fear was the word of the day, not spoken much but it was a universal emotion.  It affected each one very differently.  Some would laugh out of nervousness.  Some would cry.  Some like me just got pissed.  How dare the Russians have the bomb and why were they threatening us?  The end of the world, what a concept.

As you know if you ever studied history is that we came very close to war with the Cuban missile crisis.  As I mentioned, scary times indeed.

One thing I do know, while it was shared with so many people, it was very personal to each one.  Believe it or not, it affected a whole generation.  Some even had to have therapy from it.  These kids went on to really have to fight in wars.  The Red menace was everywhere.  Fight them there so we don’t have to fight them here.  Sounds like we’ve heard this a lot.  Fear Fear Fear, the driving force of a scared people.

What the hell does this have to do with Bin Laden getting shot in the eye?

Well after 9/11,  our country was in a very heightened state of fear.  None of us ever experienced anything like this.  These were scary guys who wanted nothing but our demise.  But why?   We were told because we were free, they wanted us dead.  They didn’t like our way of life.  Of course this was all bullshit and the real reasons for 9/11 can be debated at length, only not here and not now.

So for ten long years we’ve been talking nothing but terrorists.  The boggie men are going to get us and chop off our heads.

Can you see what happened?  We replaced one type of fear with another.  Now it wasn’t nukes that was going to get us so much, perhaps a dirty bomb or two but for the most part, it was sharia law that we feared.  Our way of life to be destroyed.  Ten years and thousands of lives lost.  So many people maimed, so many families decimated.

Kids who were playing with video games, or baseball, perhaps dolls, had to grow up with the fear factor.  I think we forget,because a generation was skipped from fright.
Think about  growing up with the talk of Bin-laden, war, hate, suicide bombs as a daily dose of reality.  How it must affect the kids as they age. Many who were toddlers have grown up and went off to war.  We lost an age of innocence.

This brings us to the reaction of many youth, who celebrated the death of Bin-Laden.  Can you see what he represented to them?  He was the symbol of a deep seated fear instilled in our children.  Ten long years of the boggie man.  It became very personal for each of these survivors.  Yes some laughed, some hoisted a drink to freedom and some just said a prayer.  Guess what?  We have no right telling them how they should feel or what is appropriate.

The war of course is not over and it will never be.  This is a war of ideals where no one can win.  The children have to grow up with this baggage and never again will the danger go away.  Maybe we had it easy growing up.

Rolling Stone


About scaredstiff

A honey badger at Heart. I've had my shots!
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23 Responses to It’s Kinda Personal

  1. Norman says:

    Tim, Thanks for the post. Brings back memories of when I grew up with W.W.II, black outs, rationing, fear, the bomb. The only thing I can say, is the crime today is not just going to war these past 10 years, but why? It sure wasn’t what the Bush said it was. I just wonder what those over 2 million veterans think today, as the truth comes out, knowing that the “O” has continued the folly, wont prosecute the war mongers, even wants to be reelected for another 4 years up coming. Like Bush, who thought he could skate till he passed, before the World found out the hoax, “O” will also be outed for his inaction and cover up of his own folly, but sooner then he thinks.

    • scaredstiff says:

      Thanks Norman for your input. The big O as you say makes a great Republican.
      I admit I had a lot of hope for him and us. Damn shame as what might have been. Silly me, I thought he was going to be more like Kennedy or dare I say FDR. Hell he’s more like Nixon and Bush.

  2. Gwendolyn H. Barry says:

    Um, I’m missing your ultimate point? I think maybe I am Tim.
    Is it that fear is dead for our youth now that OBL has been killed? Disappointment?

    Making you afraid of things is how weaker, less competent and less honorable politicians get elected. Obama reversed his “yes we can” Hope and Change for a fear base. I can kill the bad guys…. keep me in office. Simple. Awful. What a lousy thing to do to those who supported him for all the LEFT/Liberal/Progressive reasons the first time around. He threw that under the bus. He threw the Gulf of Mexico, the bays of Alaska, the coal miners for “clean coal”, a woman’s right to her own body’s health care, the health care of an entire country, …. on and on, he thew it and us under the bus. Yea for Corporate Earth. Too bad for healing the planet and the poor and sick. Simple. Corporate hack. Afterall.
    That’s what I got from the death of OBL.
    Very personally, that’s what I got.
    And I also think he threw the US Constitution under the bus…. but that’s supposition on my part extrapolated from the facts of his behavior as President for the last 16 months.
    TY Tim for offering me the opportunity to say so.

  3. scaredstiff says:

    What I was trying to say is all the hand wringing on how many of the youth celebrated bin Laden’s death is over the top. Each person had a deep feeling to convey. Some laughed, cried, drank, smoked, or just prayed. Whatever their reaction was is persona; to them. The comparison of that age of nukes to the age of terrorism draws a parallel.
    The atomic experience is still in the psyche of the people who lived it. It affected us till this day although just a threat.
    What the youth experienced was real and they have to live with real threats even now.
    Bin Laden symbolized the sum account of their fears. His death was a release of holding your breath for ten long years. It also provides closure and a chance the madness will stop and our people will come home.
    So basically, I was annoyed that some people were disgusted with people who celebrated BL’s death. People I knew were killed that day. For me a chapter ended while the book is still being written.

  4. I understand with a clarity, now. Thanks Tim.

  5. osori says:


    “For me a chapter ended while the book is still being written”.

    Excellent line man, says a lot right there.

    • scaredstiff says:

      Oso Thanks Brother. I’ve had books on the brain for days now. Funny how all things really connect.

  6. Stimpson says:

    Yes, definitely, one fear has replaced another. And open discussion has been damaged as a result. One must be careful what one says, lest one be accused of siding with the enemy or hating America. Don’t question the prevailing wisdom, unless you’re prepared to be attacked the way Noam Chomsky and Ward Churchill have been attacked.

    Even more broadly, middle America has closed its mind to even attempting to understand how a large portion of humankind thinks, and to considering whether there might be some merit in the thoughts and belief systems and perceptions of others. Right now, for many, it’s just enough to “know” that the Muslims/Arabs are wrong.

    This is very similar to the closing of the American mind to Marxism, because “everyone knows” it’s evil and wrong-headed. The Cold War closed people’s minds from considering the philosophical or ethical foundation of Marxism, and applications of a Marxist framework of analysis were marginalized as something only kooks and academics (often the same thing) did. I find that very sad, since class is absolutely crucial to understanding capitalist society.

    • scaredstiff says:

      Mike, excellent thoughts. Man I’d love to have you expand on that some day.
      I guess we all kind of closed off each others views.

  7. Krell says:

    Tim, you tapped into something that I would say almost cannot be put down into words. The overwhelming fear and dread that occurred during the 50’s and 60’s with the nuclear madness.

    If you didn’t live it, you just cannot understand the everyday pervasiveness of that fear into everyone’s lives. It was always there… the feeling that the next hour may be the countries last. Duck and cover in the schools, bomb shelters, civil defense. People don’t realize that the National Highway program funding was approved because they needed to build all those nice cross country highways…. as planning to allow speedy evacuation from cities and allow military to travel cross country. (before the H-Bomb came around)

    All the while, everyone had a sneaking suspicion that it was all for show. If it really happened, everyone could kiss their asses goodbye.

    It affected the nation’s psyche.. no doubt. Become a volunteer “Bomber spotter”, be part of Civil Defense complete with comic book explaining how, even tattoo your kids arm as part of a national identification program. I have read a few books on the subject but one that I really liked was “One Nation Underground”. I highly recommend it and the book actually is the book subject I had thought about writing for a while.

    Your sentence “The Cold War closed people’s minds from considering the philosophical or ethical foundation of Marxism, and applications of a Marxist framework of analysis were marginalized as something only kooks and academics (often the same thing) did.” is excellent. Forced conformity was overpowering, especially in the 50’s. Anything unusual was suspect. Commie was equivalent to a serial child killer. Remember the phrase “Better dead than Red”???

    I have always wondered if the 60’s were more about the backlash from the populations sub-conscious fear about nuclear annihilation than it was civil rights and the Vietnam war. Who knows???

    But what I do know is that long term fear and dread will fundamentally change a persons persona and capability of functioning. Will this “War on Terror” produce a backlash and society shift towards revolt and protest? Only time will tell, but to think that there won’t be any effects is putting on blinders to reality.

    I really enjoyed this read, Tim. Thanks.

  8. Tim this is an outstanding post and I thoroughly enjoyed the read. I remember those days quite well, and can still hear the radio announcer talking in very serious terms about the Russians putting missiles on this island called Cuba. I also remember doing the whole duck and cover thing, although I don’t think I quite had an appreciation of the horror that would have come to the world if someone actually dropped the bomb. Scary times.

    • scaredstiff says:

      Mike Thanks man! I friend of mine commented over at my site on this and reminded me about polio at the time, sputnik, and a few other happenings. How did we survive it all? I think the most trauma for me was when Kennedy was killed.

  9. Dusty says:

    My pov is that kids of this generation are immune to death and killing. The video games they play teach them that they can kill at will, anyone they don’t like. They get rewarded for killing the ‘bad guys or girls’. Killing and/or maiming the bad people is a good thing, but the problem is..who and/or what determines who is the good or the bad person?

    The determination of who is bad and should be killed is important as it really comes down to a simple form of brain-washing, at least for me it does.

    Children these days have no problem killing each other, small domestic animals or even their own parents without even blinking an eye, thinking twice about it or worse, the consequences of their actions on the rest of their lives on this planet.

    But..those are just my thoughts…

    Good post Tim, made me think a lot about the good ole dayz when we both grew up and now, how the kids of today grow up…so different.

    • Morgalla says:

      Video games are just a more technological advance on cowboys and indians. Like cell phones are blamed for cheating on tests (believe me, that was going on way before phones!) Cyber-bullying has replaced the garden variety physical bullying. Everyone always thinks the next generation is going to hell in a handbasket, when in reality it is the current crop of leadership (for the past 20 years) that have already taken us there.

      Kids today are good, intelligent, and connected in social circles that span all races and cultures. They are witnessing firsthand our poor stewardship of the planet. They are outraged at racism and homophobia. At least the kids here are. (Keep in mind I am speaking from personal experience at the high school level on down in a red state).

      If any one thing is going to undermine the decency of children, it won’t be video games, it will be religious indoctrination that teaches tribalism. That is a form of brainwashing that is truly effective, insidious, and widespread.

  10. scaredstiff says:

    Dusty, some valid points indeed. One of the things I remember just after 9/11 was that there wasn’t a plane in the sky. When flying resumed we were at our store and I was with a bunch of kids out front. We all looked in amazement at a plane that was in the air. One of the kids asked me if it was the Taliban. He was afraid. That’s when it clicked for me that things just won’t be the same again. Fear and living in the world of today. A couple of those kids who watched the plane went on to enlist down the road. Neither made it home alive. Yeppers things sure did change. So again I say if some people celebrated bin Laden’s death a little to much for some people’s taste, so what……..

  11. scaredstiff says:

    Morgan Thanks for your input. Do you think the kids of today have more, less or the same fear as it was in the 50s, 60s? I can only imagine their thoughts since 9/11. and the everyday barrage of terrorist talk. Our new motto for the USA…”be afraid be very afraid”.

  12. Tim, we were kids at the same time. I, too, remember the air-raid siren and get-under-desk drills, along with fire drills, at school, the fear of nuclear bombs. But that wasn’t all. There was a lot of fear of polio until the Salk vaccine came along. There was also fear of TB, which was still a serious problem.

    I think today’s kids have worse baggage. The Russians were potentially deadly foes, but they loved their children more than they desired conquest. People like bin Laden, Mullah Omar, Zarkawi, Mohammed Atta, don’t care if they or their loved ones live. They want to kill and are quite willing to die for the chance to kill. They’re also more sneaky than the Soviets were.

    Today’s kids also have to face the consequences of global warming, the Gulf of Mexico disaster and now the Fukushima disaster. Plus, as we’re seeing, we’re getting more-severe natural disasters coming at us harder and faster, like Katrina, this year’s string of tornadoes and now the Mississippi flooding. It’s probably going to get worse before it gets better.

    This is all bad, dangerous and scary stuff. I have faith in our young people that they will be able to cope, just as we coped with all the crap we walked into.

    • scaredstiff says:

      SW As always you get what I’m trying to say and make it better. Thanks for finding us here and your always welcome.

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