County Lines by Bob
When the terrorists attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon,
I was at my brother Eric's home in Orlando
He used to work at the Pentagon. But when our father was dying,
Eric moved to Florida to be near Dad.
Strange how fate functions. A dying father removes a brother from
But what about those in harm's way, those killed, those here one
second and gone the next?
Death is an illusion. Though the physical body, the container,
is destroyed, the spiritual self lives on.
When the physical bodies of the victims ceased living, their spirits,
like confined points of breathing light, were released to be one
with the Great Spirit again, to be drops of living water in the
Great Ocean again. From where we come, we return.
From where we return, we go. Home becomes a distant shore. A distant
shore becomes home. The living cosmos of future past circles through
eternity. No beginning, no end, the Great Void embraces us and we
are free again as we have always been.
Although the victims' spirits flew free, loved ones remained behind
to mourn, to hurt, to suffer. Death stings only the living. Those
who pass are no longer enslaved by mortal form, are no longer encased
in flesh and bone, are no longer prisoners of the physical.
I sent vibrations of peace and love to the spirits of the victims.
But that was all I could do for them.
My responsibility was to help the survivors. Except for giving
blood, I didn't know what to do, though.
The question of how to help was running through my head when I
saw a local news report. After prayer services for the victims,
a group of Jewish high school students left a temple in a nearby
community, went to a Muslim elementary school, and beat up students
Religion in the wrong hands is dangerous. Instead of a guiding
light through a forest of confusion, it's often used to burn down
Preaching religion to those lacking the maturity to discern truth
from metaphor and allegory is like handing a monkey a loaded gun.
Religion should be dispensed like a controlled substance, with
a warning of how deadly it can be when used improperly.
Believing the Supreme Creator has chosen one religion over all
others is a bigoted concept that has produced hatred and war since
the beginning of written history.
Perhaps in 10 million years humanity will have evolved enough to
come together through religion instead of being driven apart by
it, if human beings haven't completely killed each other off by
When I heard Jewish teenagers had beaten Muslim children, a way
for me to help was obvious.
I would write newspaper editorials, explaining the Taliban isn't
The Taliban claiming membership in the Islamic religion is a lie
to bluff others into believing they have the worldwide support of
Perhaps young members of the Taliban are gullible enough to believe
killing innocent people will make their creator happy.
Perhaps they believe, as they're taught, that Americans can be
frightened into submission by running at them with arms waving while
shouting, "Praise be to Allah!"
Yeah, right. By all means, do that in a Southern honky-tonk. "That's
right, officer, they were full of holes when they came in."
The Taliban has less than 40,000 members according to expert reports.
By claiming to be part of the more than one billion Muslims worldwide,
the Taliban is trying to create the facade of being powerful enough
to ward off an attack by the United States.
The Taliban wants the prejudice actions of a few bigots to unite
Muslims worldwide against the United States. Mistaking the Taliban
for Muslims can only benefit the Taliban.
After writing two editorials, which carried the same message but
with a different approach, I sent each to the editors of two daily
newspapers who know me and readily publish my work.
My editorials would be in more than 500,000 newspapers. How many
would read what I had written was another matter. But even if no
one did, I had tried to help. I didn't just sit back and say, "Oh,
well, there's nothing I can do."
Before leaving Florida, I went to the fifty-fifth anniversary celebration
of a group I joined in 1980.
We are a spiritual group, not religious. We share our experience,
strength, and hope with others. When anyone reaches out for help,
we reach back.
We are self supporting. We don't accept outside contributions.
If you're not a member, we won't take your donation, whether it's
a dollar or $10,000.
We keep only enough money for one-month's expenses. We give what's
left to charity.
We aren't controlled by a preacher, a priest or a guru. We have
no leaders, only trusted servants. We are guided by group conscience.
We reason together.
We each follow a higher power of our individual understanding.
We keep our religious beliefs to ourselves, if we have any.
Near the end of the celebration, we observed a moment of silence
in remembrance of members who had died.
A soft radiance washed through me. I knew the group members who
had passed, like the victims of the September 11 attack, hadn't
They will be on a brighter shore, waiting to welcome us when our
time in this world is finished.
Overton County News
415 West Main Street
P.O. Box 479
Livingston, Tennessee 38570