Once upon a time, Tuesday, a group of warriors from a land of meat and potatoes patrolled the streets in a land of shawarma and pita. One day a defiant young boy stepped into the street to confront the warriors.
“Take him out!” shouted one to the other. “That’s an AK in his hands!”
One of the warriors saw the boy with his weapon pass into his field of fire only 300 strides to the front. He didn’t fire. His comrades feared fire from the young boy waving his weapon defiantly at the group of foreign warriors.
“Cover me!” whispered the young warrior as he dismounted and walked toward the boy. He knew he should shoot, he wanted to shoot, but he could not shoot the boy.
He was ready. He was locked and loaded and the selector was set to AUTO. Like Goliath, he wore his helmet, armor, uniform, boots, and colors. He moved forward. The young Philistine child did not budge, but he didn’t fire either.
Closer and closer, the warrior’s curiosity increased with proximity. He saw the young boy wore only sandals, ragged shorts, and a torn shirt. His hands and face were stained with dirt, ashes, and death. He focused on the child’s weapon, and kept his own ready to react. Something about the child’s weapon didn’t seem right.
“Screw you!” screamed the boy and continued his rant from the Levant. “One day I’ll kill you, and those like you!”
The feisty eight-year-old Philistine tried to injure the foreign Goliath warrior with his angry words.
A smile twisted across the giant’s face. He understood the child’s Levantine dialect and responded with a twisted grin as he snatched the toy weapon from the angry boy’s hands.
“I almost killed you kid! What are you doing in the street with a toy AK-47?” The warrior’s words didn’t soften the child’s glare. The intensity of his dark brown eyes increased, and he again spoke words of fear and anger mixed with defiant hate.
“One day I’ll kill you and your people. Screw you!”
“Today you’ll not kill me and I’ll not kill you! Today, I’m bigger and stronger. Today, I decide. Get out of the street and don’t let me see you with your toy again!”
He threw the kid’s plastic AK to the side of the street. He left the humiliated child, with life, in the middle of the street. He left him alive. He left him alone.
Eighteen years later, Ziad Samir Jarrah, from a land of shawarma and pita piloted a plane on a mission of death to a land of meat and potatoes. He was 26 years old. He missed his target. Maybe, he didn’t. Maybe he remembered Tuesday, once upon a time in Beirut in the Fall of 1983. He got to decide on September 11, 2001 … once upon a time, Tuesday at 9:11.