What Do I Hope to Accomplish?
I hate that the limited resources of my brain are clogged with names like Bundy, Manson, Columbine and Al-Qaeda, but I almost never hear the names of their victims.
I hope that by having 2,996 of us write a tribute to these people that we will each learn about our victims. We will burn into our own brains the details of their lives and come to know more about them than we do about the monsters who took their lives. I can say that after doing my own research I will never forget the name of my victim.
I think of this a little bit like a giant wake, where we celebrate their lives and not the circumstances of their unfortunate deaths.
By taking the time and energy to remember them we can keep them alive in our own memories. We can keep them alive for as long as we refuse to forget them.
Are the 2996 Heroes?
I have become aware of some who are critical of 2,996. And while they are, of course, entitled to their opinions, there is one point to which I would like to respond. Do I consider these 2,996 people to be heroes?
No, not all of them. But, Yes, some of them. 2,996 is a big number, and in that number there are people who I may not have liked very much. The list of victims, I am certain, includes spousal abusers, violent drunks, adulterers and myriad other offenders.
But the list does include heroes.
There were people who ran into a building that had been hit by a plane.
There are people who refused to let their plane be used as a weapon against others at the certain cost of their own lives.
And there are probably many whose heroics died with them, without the world finding out. Some may have saved others. Some may have simply comforted others knowing full well they would die themselves.
2,996 isn’t about making these people into heroes. It’s about making them real to those of us who have never heard their stories.
What are Your Politics?
This one isn’t really in response to a direct question, as much as it is in response to a series of misconceptions. Some people have left comments assuming that because they agree with 2,996, that my political views are in line with theirs. And some of the posts publicizing the 2,996 project suggest the same.
The short answer is I’m not going to get into a political debate. I’m not right wing, I’m not left wing, I’m not centrist, but sometimes I am each of them. I’ve read a little bit from each of the 500+ blogs I’ve signed up (yes, this is all manual) and I don’t align politically with any of you.
But all that says to me is that this project is non-partisan. Grief is non partisan.
I’m sure some of you read the title of the post and rolled your eyes. Is everyone out for a buck?
I’m a cynic, too, so I understand your reaction.
I’ve received at least fifty emails asking why we don’t have t-shirts, or buttons or bracelets.
First, I may be a bit old-fashioned here, but I think some things are beyond money and it’s influence. And when I started all this I told Jeni that I wouldn’t sell t-shirts or posters or look for sponsors.
Second, I really don’t have the time. I fully accept that there are ways to merchandise 2996 that will neither make me a profit nor cheapen the effort. More than one person have pointed out the similarities, in principle, between the MIA-POW groups and 2996, and asked if I had considered named bracelets.
Honestly, this hadn’t occurred to me before it was pointed out. And while I would proudly wear a bracelet featuring the name of Candace Lee Williams, I wouldn’t even know where to start on something like this. And considering that I only announced 2996 on May 31 of this year, there simply wasn’t time to get it done.
But I think this way it’s a little more pure. 2996 has its detractors, but none can say I or anyone else had made a penny off of this. I’ve donated the time, organization and bandwidth. Tom had given his programming time and expertise and a chunk of his limited bandwidth. Jeni, along with time, support, and drumming up new sign ups, has been nice enough not to yell at me on the nights when I stay up late in the corner of the bedroom typing email responses. And hundreds of other have given their time by way of research, blog posts, advertising. But no one has made a cent.