View Full Version : Empathy - Did you think about any of the people when it happened?

09-14-2001, 10:30 AM
Sorry if the title of this thread is confusing, but something I've been wondering about is if, when you first saw or heard about the terrorist acts on Tuesday, you thought about, pictured, or put yourself in the shoes of any of the victims. The human power of imagination can be a very strong and sometimes uncontrollable ability and I've heard people say they pictured in their minds, or empathizing with, those who were working in the World Trade Center or those on the ground being surrounding by the dust of the collapsing buildings or perhaps those in the Pentagon.

I myself had a VERY hard time getting to sleep on Tuesday and Wednesday after viewing the 2nd impact live on TV as it happened because as soon as the news announcer said "there's a second plane!" (which was merely a heartbeat before the plane hit the 2nd WTC tower), my mind wiped out all doubt about the first plane's intent (whether it was an accident or not - I had a somewhat slim doubt that it wasn't intentional) and I just kept thinking about and picturing in my mind all those poor passengers in those planes being used as missiles all day and night. Even as the news was foolishly stating how it "looked like a small plane" and other nonsense, I knew it was clearly a sizable passenger jet that was flown into the giant building (from simply looking at the shape of the plane used in the attack and knowing a little about what different jets look like) and I literally could not stop empathizing with those poor passengers and crew who were being hijacked and killed. Whenever I closed my eyes, I pictured those poor passengers and I couldn't get it out of my head no matter how much I wanted to (and I wanted to since it was SO painful to think about and to let my mind's eye paint pictures of). I'm a bit glad I didn't have bad dreams after the incidents, but when awake, it was just so painful, so sad, so constant -- and yet so difficult not to think about.

I feel in a way like I'm unfairly asking you folks to relive your own personal pain even as we start to heal, but I also think that talking it out, discussing our feelings with friends, and just venting is a good path to personal healing, which is of course part of what we need for societal healing.

09-14-2001, 10:47 AM
I most certainly did... at 9am a co-worker said, "A plane hit the WTC". I asked, "A plane or a jet?" - as I had a feeling this was going to happen sometime. She said she didn't know. I got onto CNN.com and saw the picture of the first gaping hole in the WTC. I knew that it was a large jet and knew of its intent. I felt this was going to get worse. I thought of how all those people were blown apart by the impact on the levels where it struck. Then I thought of the feelings of suffocation and helplessness for those who were trapped. I felt the fear and panic of those who tried to get out of the building via the crowded stairwells.

It was a strong feeling... one I could really feel when I stopped to close my eyes... I noticed my heart racing and my breathing would stop as if I were one of them. Terrible.

Eternal Padawan
09-14-2001, 11:07 AM
When I first heard about it and turned on my television , they were showing the footage of the planes hitting, followed immediately by the footage of the towers collapsing, so I incorrectly thought that there had been a mere 30 seconds between the second plane crash and the first tower collapse. This would not be enough time for anybody to get out, nor anybody in the streets below, nor in buildings nearby. Then I pictured the typical crowded streets of New York bustling with thousands of pedestrians and thought "My God. All of those people just died." I though t the death toll was going to be a hundred thousand. It wasn't until I watched it for a few minutes I realized that a lot of people had evacuated...

09-14-2001, 11:41 AM
I was getting ready to come to the office, i went down to the kitchen and i found an architect (long time friend of the family that is changing the floor in my/your house). He tells me: "Its horrible what has happened". And i say (i didnt know at that time 10:00am Mex City time) "what happened?" He says: "Dont you know?? The twin towers are no more...a plane crashed in the pentagon and another plane fall down near pittsburgh..." I went mute. Just couldnt believe what he told me. I came to the office and saw the footage...it hurt soooo bad to look at those pictures.

I went in the net ASAP but found nothing, all the websites were flooded with traffic, CNN, NBC, CBS, etc.

Of course that u have to think what those poor people were thinking, and hope that at least they didnt have hatred in their hearts when they were gone.

09-14-2001, 01:10 PM
I had tears in my eyes when I thought of how all those people jumping from the building had started what would seem to be a normal day, then in a matter of minutes they're choosing the least painful way to die. I still get choked up when I think of the passengers in the jets, and my blood boils with rage when I think of the terrorists murdering those stewardesses just to lure out the pilots from the cockpit. It affects me in everything I do now, but what really angers me is the people who don't seem to care. The ones who get mad at the radio for covering this instead of playing their favorite song. Or my Battalion Sergeant Major saying how ****$ed-off he was that they cancelled football this weekend.

09-14-2001, 01:54 PM
Cancelling football???? He's griping about that??? That's pretty heartless. He, of all people, should know of the severity of this situation.

Jedi Clint
09-14-2001, 03:23 PM
I am still trying to imagine what those poor souls experienced. I saw one picture of people leaning and falling out of broken windows, and it tore me up. Tears filled my eyes. They had the choice of burning and suffocating to death, or leaping to their death................how awful.

Obi-Dan Kenobi
09-14-2001, 04:13 PM
The people I feel the most empathy for, for whatever reason, are the people on the planes. They were told they were going to die, possibly even told how they were going to die, and had to sit there and wait for it. I can't imagine what I'd do in that position. I am in awe of the passengers that took over the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania. That was an incredibly hard decision to make. They had to die along with the other passengers, so that others would live. I don't think the fact that they knew they would die anyway would make it any easier.

But it's hard not to stop putting your self in the place of everyone who was involved in this. I keep thinking what I would do if I was in one of those buildings. How can someone jump to their death? On the other hand, how could someone wait to burn to death or be killed by the collapse. What if I was a firefighter? How are they going on, working non-stop for over twenty-four hours at a time? Especially after so many of their own has been killed. It just amazes me, and I would hope that I would be able to do what they've been doing in their position. I've always loved America and appreciated my freedoms and those that protect them, but I don't think there's ever been a better reason to love humanity than seeing how the rescue workers, the people in the buildings, and the citizens of New York, Washington, and the rest of the nation and world have handled this.

09-14-2001, 09:54 PM
I think about the people jumping from the windows, its bad to see them fall to their deaths, and hearing people on the streets say that they counted 30 or more jumping, That was hard, I still think about all those who jumped,just bad :(

master jedi
09-15-2001, 07:44 PM
Most of the things you see on tv are fake so its hard to think that those people actually were jumping to their deaths on live television. I wish it were just another fictional show.

Rollo Tomassi
09-16-2001, 01:15 AM
Originally posted by bigbarada
...It affects me in everything I do now, but what really angers me is the people who don't seem to care. The ones who get mad at the radio for covering this instead of playing their favorite song. Or my Battalion Sergeant Major saying how ****$ed-off he was that they cancelled football this weekend.

I, too, get the feeling I care more than alot of people:

Wednesday at school, one of my professors was taking roll and the University Newspaper had sent one of the kids in our class to New York and the teacher says "I hope he doesn't hijack a plane." I lost a lot of respect for him that day.

On a website I go to frequently, one of the writers commented on how the terrorists "Were critiquing the architecture harshly" I stopped going to that website.

At work we were watching the News Saturday night, and one of my managers came in asked what was so interesting on the television "What, did another building collapse?" We said that wasn't very nice and he complained about being desensitized to it all. I don't like him very much anymore.

The day it happened, the theatre I work at and the mall it's in closed and these high school girls who work there were "Cool! No work today!" I wanted to slap them and tell them I would work non stop for the next five years if it would have prevented this from happening.

Another kid at my job came up to me on Friday and said "I've got a cool idea for a movie based on what happened." I had to walk away from him in order not to punch him and lose my job.

But the worst one of all...My sister was telling me about the jocks at her high school who were making jokes when the planes hit the buildings and again when those people were jumping to their deaths. It's a 90 minute drive back to my parents home town and I wanted to go get in my car right then and there and find those little GONKS! and beat the living GONK! out of them. I strated crying I was so upset when she told me that....

09-16-2001, 05:12 AM
Originally posted by Rollo Tomassi
Another kid at my job came up to me on Friday and said "I've got a cool idea for a movie based on what happened." I had to walk away from him in order not to punch him and lose my job.

Did you hear about the guy who kicked a scalper (?) for making a STUPID "joke" at a store near him invoving an A-Wing? If I was him I would have bashed the guy until he was dead for making a joke like that!!

master jedi
09-16-2001, 06:12 PM
Originally posted by Rollo Tomassi

Another kid at my job came up to me on Friday and said "I've got a cool idea for a movie based on what happened." I had to walk away from him in order not to punch him and lose my job.

If they do make a movie out of what happened I sure hope it's not a 3 hour piece of **** like Pearl Harbor.

El Chuxter
09-17-2001, 11:41 AM
I'm sure there will be a movie. I just pray Hollywood has enough sense to wait at least a decade.

Rollo, bigbarada, I know where you're coming from. I wanted to severely injure several people at work who watched the people jumping as if it were entertainment, and some who have passed e-mail jokes about it since. I was about to strangle the mother of a small kid I overheard yesterday talking about how cool it was, the people more concerned with the delay of travel plans, etc. And, though I don't have a problem with ending the 24 hour coverage, I wish the news didn't suddenly begin treating the victims as numbers.

09-17-2001, 09:00 PM
I remember when I was in 7th grade, after the Challenger blew up, it wasn't a week later that there were jokes circulating around my school about Christa McAuliffe and the other astronauts. I learned at an early age how heartless people can be. I shudder to think of the jokes going around elementary schools right now about the WTC tragedy.