You want to mock a terrorist attack? Mock this: The terrorists are already in the gates. Nobody knows who they are. They look like elected officials, celebrities on TV, students in school, executives with briefcases, dudes hanging out on street corners.
With an ingenious distribution system, they scatter 192 million guns in American homes. No one knows who has them. The plan works. Two hundred thousand people get shot in a year. Thirty thousand die. Five thousand are children. In fact, some of the gunmen are actually gunchildren, kids gone mad with a rage beyond our understanding. The president, confused but resolved, does nothing.
A band of terrorists breaks into the national treasury, empties the whole thing, leaves a hole in the bottom so deep it will take two generations to plug it up. They send the almighty dollar into a tailspin around the deep, dark drain of depression. Nobody notices.
They rob the poor and give to the rich. They pull a fast one on the elderly, trick the unborn out of their pensions, saddle them with federal debt. They leave children behind. They bait. They switch. They cover their tracks.
They use lies and innuendo to draw our army to the other side of the world. They make killing a Christian virtue. They beg for the apocalypse. They post ten commandments and break them one by one. They hang with a bad crowd.
Look out. Here they come. Code Orange! Code Orange! Please remove your shoes.
With our soldiers tied down in a distant desert, dying like fish in a barrel, terrorists continue their rampage in American streets, schools, homes, parks, post offices, courthouses. Students shoot teachers. Criminals execute judges. Parents beat their children. Children kill their parents. Neighbors rape neighbors, leave their bodies in the woods.
The terrorists slay national forests, dig pits in national parks, cast oil upon the waters. They release gases to the sky, chemicals to the streams, toxins over the crops. They poison wells. They push narcotics on the young. They withhold medicine from the old. They make cancer happen.
Throwing Journalists In Jail
While televisions gush with glitz and idiocy, the terrorists throw journalists in jail. They make a bad journalist a whore. They make a whore a bad journalist. They let him into the White House. He asks stupid questions, gets stupid answers. He does not remove his shoes.
They slash the Constitution, seize without need, search without warrant, arrest without cause, hold without charges, try without jury, and outsource cruel and unusual punishment to places where tyranny rules.
They rule. They corrupt. They buy legislators. They sell favors. They puff themselves up on TV but fling so much mud that nobody can see what's happening. They replace voting machines with black boxes. Nobody gets to look inside. They fool enough of the people enough of the time.
The president lifts his chin, wrinkles his brow, squints his eyes, raises his arm, waves with courage, gets in his helicopter, leaves.
It's all too horrible to think about, but that's the attack that's happening. We can mock an assault on Fort Trumbull, rehearse it all we want, but it won't stop what truly terrorizes, not one little bit.
Glenn Cheney is a writer in Hanover. His latest book is "Frankenstein on the Cusp of Something."
© 2005 The Day Publishing Co.