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The Realism of Violence
A graphic slideshow of photos depicting the horror of the September 11 attack.

(These photos contain explicit violence.)

A few days after the 9/11 terrorist attack I was driving in my car feeling good that the "movie was over". My mind wanted so much to believe that what I had been seeing on television was just a movie. And then it hit me again, it was not a movie. It was real. And it demonstrates the degree to which violence is, indeed, a major factor in the human heart and in human relationships. So for those who feel it is important to be graphically reminded of what really happened here is a slideshow of the September 11 Attack.

A new public theology has to be rooted in realism. I have read little of the French philosopher, Jacques Derrida but do have at hand a chapter by him in Deconstruction and the Possibility of Justice (edited by Drucilla Cornell, Michel Rosenfeld, and David Gray Carlson) where he discusses his contention that law itself is based on violence. He says, "The ineffectiveness and inconsistency of anti-military pacifists results from their failure to recognize the legal and unassailable character of this violence that conserves the law."

This should not be taken to mean that it is completely appropriate to use all military means to strike back at others. In fact, it should alert us that violence begets violence again and again. Certainly, the idea of nation founded on law not violence, which is now about to justify the use of violence to preserve itself against the violence of non-nations, has become a question not obvious assumption.

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Date Added: 9/21/2001 Date Revised: 9/29/2001

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