Terrorists, Then and Now (RetroFlash) by
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Twenty years ago,

sitting in front of a television

In a hotel room in Australia

With my (then) wife.

Watching planes hit the Twin Towers

In New York — in MY city.

And filled with rage at these terrorists.


Twenty years later,

Sitting in front of a television

In my home in Massachusetts

With my (now) wife.

Watching mobs attack the police

Guarding the Capitol — MY Capitol.

And filled with rage at these terrorists.



And 2021’s terrorists are not foreigners.

They are Americans.

They are also traitors.


False equivalence?


Even the feckless DHS

Knows they are the

Terrorist threat this 9/11.

Profile photo of John Shutkin John Shutkin

Characterizations: moving, right on!, well written


  1. Betsy Pfau says:

    I agree, John. Not a false equivalence. The FBI says the greatest terrorist threat we have right now comes from home-grown right-wing terrorists. They are using the same techniques that ISIS uses. And, as Khati and I commented recently, the new TX abortion law is exactly what the Taliban imposes on their women. Our democracy is under real threat at home.

  2. Laurie Levy says:

    I totally agree, John. It is so frustrating the in the 8 months since January 6, so little has happened to bring those responsible to justice. The fact they these terrorists are our “fellow Americans” makes me even more enraged.

  3. Marian says:

    Beautiful parallelism and sadly, true equivalence, John. We live in scary times.

  4. Suzy says:

    John, I totally agree with the sentiments, and I also love the structure of your RetroFlash. Your (then) wife and (now) wife, your city and your Capitol, and ending each stanza with the same line about rage at these terrorists.

    Really perfect, this deserves a wider audience. Facebook? The New York Times? Publish it somewhere with more readers than we have here!

    • John Shutkin says:

      Thanks, Suzy; I appreciate this very much, especially you catching my attempts at parallelism (or redundancy, or whatever you want to call it). But I am inclined to limit this to the most important audience: my RetroPals.

  5. Wise and sadly true John, and a powerful statement in 100 words.

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