Letter From New York 11 19 15 Wanting to kill us because we are…

Outside it is dark already and it is only 5:15 PM.  Sunset was at 4:31 PM according to my Weather app.  It is still another month to the shortest night of the year and the long lengthening of days that follow.  It is a time for hibernation and that is what I have done all this live long day, hibernate.

Outside, it is blustery and a heavy wind has been blowing.  The electricity blinked on and off.  Winter is arriving in the Hudson Valley, no question about it.

A fire burns in the Franklin stove and floodlights illuminate the creek and the front of the cottage.  I’ve spent the day doing my best to personally thank all 250+ people who wished my “Happy Birthday” yesterday.

While it is still unseasonably warm, it was impossibly drear all day.  No glint of sunshine brightened this day.  I’ve been psychologically chilled by the dreariness.  Having managed to whittle down my inbox, I took some time to read a book, a mystery. 

When I woke this morning and read the headlines I saw that there had been an overnight raid in the Paris suburb of St. Denis.  A young woman killed herself by blowing up her suicide vest and a young man, now identified as Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the suspected mastermind of the 11/13 attacks, was also killed, his body riddled with bullets.  They used DNA and fingerprints to identify him.

People are asking how it was that he was in Paris when French Intelligence thought he was in Syria?  The raid is being called a success and a failure.  Success because he has been taken out and a failure because he wasn’t where they thought he was.  How had he gotten back onto the continent and into France?

Young Abdelhamid was quite the IS poster boy, featured in some of their videos and their online magazine, shown in one video dragging bodies behind a pick-up truck.   His own family had disowned him and wanted him dead.  They now have had their wish come true.  He recruited his younger brother to Syria.  I wonder where he is now?

Here is the US dozens are under watch as the government does its best to prevent a Paris type attack here.  There have been reports that Washington, DC is targeted as well as New York City’s Time Square. 

The real lesson from Paris is that nowhere is safe.   And that is frightening a LOT of people.

Congress voted today to prevent Syrian refugees from entering the country.  Obama vows to veto it if it comes to his desk.  It is a sign of how afraid we all have become.

Europe, which has had an “open” border policy is now re-thinking that.  It would be something like, again, having to go through border controls when going from New York to Massachusetts.  Enormously inconvenient but that is what they’re thinking about in the EU.

Especially since some of the participants in last Friday’s tragedy came from Belgium, which is now promising to crack down on anyone they suspect of being a terrorist.  It all feels a bit like a bad Hollywood movie but this is the world we live in.

French officials believe the raid in St. Denis prevented another attack.

Sitting here, listening to jazz, staring out at the floodlit creek, it is hard to imagine the world beyond here but that world exists and it is relentless.  There are people who are out there who desperately want to kill us because of the world we have created.


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