Attacks on US: Weblogs Tell Personal Stories

by David Sims

Dave Winer is doing a great job covering this tragedy as it unfolds with links to significant stories, including a London Times article on the attack being celebrated in the West Bank, reports from Cameron Barret in Brooklyn, and report that Akamai co-founder Danny Lewin was on board the American Airlines flight from Boston to Los Angeles.

Over at, Evan has posted a page of blogs focused on the day's tragedies.

Eric Raymond reviews some of the lessons learned from the day in this email he sent out:

>Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 16:22:11 -0400
>From: Eric S Raymond
>Subject: Decentralism against terrorism -- First lessons from the 9/11 attack
>Some friends have asked me to step outside my normal role as a technology
>evangelist today, to point out in public that a political panic reaction
>to the 9/11 terrorist attack could do a great deal more damage than the
>attack itself.
>Today will not have been a victory for terrorism unless we make it
>one. If we reward in any way the Palestinians who are now celebrating
>this hideous crime in the streets of the West Bank, that wil have been
>a victory for terrorism. If we accept "anti-terrorism" measures that do
>further damage to our Constitutional freedoms, that will have been a victory
>for terrorism. But if we learn the right lessons, if we make policies that
>preserve freedom and offer terrorists no result but a rapid and futile
>death, that will have been a victory for the rest of us.
>We have learned today that airport security is not the answer. At
>least four separate terror teams were able to sail right past all the
>elaborate obstacles -- the demand for IDs, the metal detectors, the
>video cameras, the X-ray machines, the gunpowder sniffers, the gate
>agents and security people trained to spot terrorists by profile.
>There have been no reports that any other terror units were
>successfully prevented from achieving their objectives by these
>measures. In fact, the early evidence is that all these
>police-state-like impositions on freedom were exactly useless -- and
>in the smoldering ruins of the World Trade Center lies the proof of
>their failure.
>We have learned today that increased surveillance is not the answer.
>The FBI's "Carnivore" tap on the U.S.'s Internet service providers
>didn't spot or prevent this disaster; nor did the NSA's illegal
>Echelon wiretaps on international telecommunications. Video
>monitoring of public areas could have accomplished exactly nothing
>against terrorists taking even elementary concealment measures. If we
>could somehow extend airport-level security to the entire U.S., it
>would be just as useless against any determined and even marginally
>competent enemy.
>We have learned today that trying to keep civilian weapons out of
>airplanes and other areas vulnerable to terrorist attack is not the
>answer either -- indeed, it is arguable that the lawmakers who
>disarmed all the non-terrorists on those four airplanes,
>leaving them no chance to stop the hijackers, bear part of the moral
>responsibility for this catastrophe.
>I expect that in the next few months, far too many politicians and
>pundits will press for draconian "anti-terrorist" laws and
>regulations. Those who do so will be, whether intentionally or not,
>cooperating with the terrorists in their attempt to destroy our way of
>life -- and we should all remember that fact come election time.
>As an Internet technologist, I have learned that distributed problems
>require distributed solutions -- that centralization of power, the
>first resort of politicians who feed on crisis, is actually worse than
>useless, because centralizers regard the more effective coping
>strategies as threats and act to thwart them.
>Perhaps it is too much to hope that we will respond to this shattering
>tragedy as well as the Israelis, who have a long history of preventing
>similar atrocities by encouraging their civilians to carry concealed
>weapons and to shoot back at criminals and terrorists. But it is in
>that policy of a distributed response to a distributed threat, with
>every single citizen taking personal responsibility for the defense of
>life and freedom, that our best hope for preventing recurrences of
>today's mass murders almost certainly lies.
>If we learn that lesson, perhaps today's deaths will not have been in vain.
> Eric S. Raymond
>"The power to tax involves the power to destroy;...the power to
>destroy may defeat and render useless the power to create...."
> -- Chief Justice John Marshall, 1819.