On visiting Times Square for a movie with his daughter:
As a parent, I confronted a new calculation. Asymmetric warfare had advanced from downtown to Midtown, from 2001 to the present moment.
As a reporter I had covered the aftermath of 9/11 and now found myself revisiting long-buried worries. I decided not to share any of those dark thoughts with my daughter. We hadn’t discussed the failed bomb, and besides, how do you explain that some people a long way away may wish her dead even though they don’t know her? In the end, we stuck to the plan, lining up with many others at the AMC Empire 25 near Times Square, having a moment, together, in one of the gaudiest, grandest places on earth.
Sticking to the plan is a very American response these days. It is said that if people retreat into fear, “the terrorists have won,” but it’s actually just practical. Life goes on in far more dangerous places, and so it will here. Even though at least one terrorist signaled that he believed that Times Square was a soft, ripe target, the place normalized in a matter of days. We were now using cognitive dissonance to keep fear in a corner, putting our fingers in our ears and humming a happy song against the cold fact that the threat of 9/11 never went away and appears to be on the move.
Because the terrorists really are singing in your ears.
Try this for cognitive dissonance: despite the constant coverage in news outlets of a guy who tried and pathetically failed to light his car on fire, 0 Americans have died of terrorist attacks in the United States this year. Nearly 82,000 Americans will die this year from having a tumor grow out of their ass.
Put something useful in the newspapers, Mr. Carr. Go write a story about the ass tumors and take your daughter to the movies in peace.