[From the Frog Pond]
Have you ever met a genuine New Yorker? I don't mean the type that went to elite private schools and lives in a luxury apartment on the Upper East Side. I mean the kind of New Yorker who grew up in a tough neighborhood, went to public schools, has a heavy accent, and demonstrates a wiseness about the streets. These are the kinds of people who make up the New York fire and police departments. They're the people who won the admiration of the nation on 9/11 and in the days after. Conservatives had made such a habit of blasting New Yorkers as effete bleeding heart liberals, that I had to do a double-take when I saw the outpouring of support for my suffering city (I grew up in the NYC suburbs, and lived there until 2002) after the al-Qaeda attacks.
I thought that Red America hated New York and hated New Yorkers. It was nice, but odd, to see them embrace us for once. But, then I knew New York and New Yorkers. I knew they were the toughest sons of bitches that our country can produce (they've got rats on the West Side, bed bugs uptown). To live in New York, you have to put up with a level of crime and uncertainty and hustle and bustle that is beyond most people. You can't be scared of people that look, talk, and believe differently than you do. You can walk for an hour through Central Park without hearing English being spoken once. If that is outside your comfort level, you're not tough enough to live in New York City.
So, no, it doesn't surprise me a bit that New Yorkers are generally unafraid of putting swarthy-looking terrorists on trial in their courts. They live everyday with the threat of a terrorist attack. Manhattan is the number one terrorist target in the country. Perhaps the oddest thing about Timothy McVeigh is that he chose to attack Oklahoma City. What was that about? It's infinitely more likely that terrorists will attack the NYC subway system than it is that they will attack, say, Little Rock. It should have made people wonder that New Yorkers turned against the war in Iraq faster than anyone else, despite the fact that the war was, at least in part and theory, an act of retribution on their behalf. New Yorkers knew better than anyone else that the war in Iraq was making them more, not less, of a target.
That's why I agree with Markos Moulitsas when he calls the conservatives a bunch of cowards. They want to fight the terrorists over there so we don't have to fight them here. Why be afraid to fight terrorists wherever they might arise? After putting New Yorkers at increased risk of retribution by attacking and occupying a country that had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks, the conservatives feign concern for the safety of New Yorkers when they try to put the real culprits on trial. It is beyond insulting.
They seem to have no idea how much contempt they bring on themselves when they express fear of having terrorists lodged in even adjacent states. Anyone who works or lives in New York City puts up with infinitely more risk than that every single day. And who do you think is most likely to get killed by some terrorist who is motivated by Guantanamo Bay? It isn't the good people of Nebraska, I can tell you that. So, what are New Yorkers to think of some jackass senator from Nebraska, who says this:
Alarmingly, two of the sites on U.S. soil that some speculate could house transferred detainees are Fort Leavenworth in Kansas and the supermax facility in Colorado. Both facilities are within two hundred and fifty miles of the Nebraska border. That alarms me and alarms my constituents. That's why I sent a letter to Attorney General Holder on April 23 requesting a personal briefing before any decision is made to move current Guantanamo detainees within four hundred miles of Nebraska's borders.
This coward is afraid of having prisoners housed within 400 miles of his state! He's lucky New York City isn't within 400 miles of his state. That would much more frightening. It's a wonder that Senator Johanns can make it to work on Capitol Hill without soiling himself in fear. You think a NYC firefighter is going to have any respect for this fool?