2001-09-15 / Columnists

From the G-Man by Gary G. Toms

Hey people. It’s going to be very difficult for me to write this column because I am still reeling from the events of this week. I’m sure many of you are as well. I cannot stop thinking about the image of those planes slamming into the Twin Towers. I cannot help but think about all of the people, on the ill-fated flights and in the buildings, who realized that they were about to die and would never see their loved ones again. I cannot forget the reports of couples holding hands and leaping to their deaths from atop the World Trade Center, when they had no way to escape the intense heat, smoke and collapsing building. I cannot forget.

The attack on The Twin Towers has angered many across the nation, and many people are calling for nothing less than the blood of those responsible. While the outrage is justified, we must realize that any unjustified action taken against those that we may believe are responsible should not be tolerated.

On Tuesday evening, several hours after the assault, Tom Brokaw, of NBC News, brilliantly stated, "We must not lodge an all out war against Muslims, or those who practice Islam, in America. To do so would be most unfortunate. Islam is the fastest growing religion in America, and many who practice it have been touched by this tragedy as well. This act was carried out by extremists who have their own interpretation of the Koran."

Brokaw did something that no other journalist, or network for that matter, bothered to do that night. He attempted to keep a nation from striking out against Muslim-Americans across the country, and he should be commended for it.

His comments come at a time that is critical. Sentiments of revenge will increase with each passing day, and the less the country knows about who is responsible will only make the situation worse. People will seek to inflict their own brand of justice if answers are not forthcoming.

I have heard anti-Arab/Muslim statements from a bunch of ignorant people while riding the Green Line bus to and from work. Youths and adults were describing how they wanted to f… them up, whether they had a direct involvement in the attack or not. "We need to kill them all and be done with it. Eliminate the threat and move on," some stated. Well, you know what? These folks need to stop all that noise and chill out!

I have taken it upon myself to put the word out on the streets, through my "peeps", that these people are to be kept in check. They are a danger to others and to our community. If they so much as talk about attacking someone, let the proper authorities know about it. Otherwise, the outcome could be disastrous.

The Arab/Muslim storeowners in the Rockaways are simply trying to make a living in a community that they are proud to be a part of. The threats being made against them are unfair and unwarranted.

We have enough to worry about, in terms of the possibility of future attacks against the country. The last thing we need is an internal conflict with people we assume are the enemy.

My prayers go out to all those suffering from this catastrophe. Over 200 NYFD members and 78 NYPD officers are believed to have perished in the wake of this horrible act. That is a major loss for the city of New York, and the pain will be felt for many years to come.

See you next week.

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