Fifteen Years Later

Once more it’s September 11th, and once more everyone is posting what they were doing and where they were fifteen years ago when the towers fell. I never do this (well I did it once, but it was just a short post), not because the day isn’t important to me, fuck’s sake like so many others I count time pre and post 9-11, but because what’s happened since breaks my heart and angries up my blood.


I’m about to get a metric shit ton of hate from people for this, but I turned 40 last month, I’m diabetic, bald, fat, and frankly I don’t give a shit what most people think.


On September 11th, 2001 I was working for the city as a maintenance man, A group of us were clocking out for our first break and the time clock was located behind the central reception desk, and the people at the desk were watching the Today Show. I saw the first tower get hit on replay only minutes after it happened… I saw the second tower hit in real time. The rest of the day is a kinda fuzzy, instead of working we spent the day watching the television and I saw both towers fall as it happened. Calling it the darkest day in living American history is not hyperbole.


Yes I know, none of that pisses you off, we all have our stories, and most are far more disturbing than anything I experienced. No what’s gonna make you want to punch me come now.


In many ways (there are very few if any absolutes) America is a far worse place than it was 15 years ago.


Before you start composing your vitriol, just read my words. We had a chance to take that tragedy and become a better place, and in some ways a minority of people have. But like we’ve seen so many times in the past a segment of the population has turned tragedy to their advantage, and horrible things have been the result. Darkness, long living in the cracks and slimy places of our society, has catalyzed and in many cases been normalized.


What do I mean by that?


In the fear and anger following the September 11th attacks we, as in most of us not all, willingly surrendered our freedoms to a corrupt oligarchy of the rich and the powerful. We thought we were doing it so they could prevent another attack on American soil. Privacy, freedoms, and basic human rights have been curtailed in the name of safety and security. We still live in a constant fear of the other, and it’s not just the Muslims. We are embroiled in several wars, all undeclared by our Congress, wars in which thousands of Americans and our allies have been killed and nearly a million civilians and enemy combatants have lost their lives. Our government has engaged in torture, unlawful detention, spying on Americans, and the extrajudicial executions of Americans abroad.


These people have died for what, justice, revenge, power, money, the Great American Empire?


These are only a few of the things I could name, examples too many Americans don’t care about or worse support wholeheartedly.


Americans are fracturing along lines and to depths not seen in a hundred and fifty years. Religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, law enforcement, justice, personal beliefs of all stripes, and for the love of the Universe wishing someone a “Happy Holidays” is enough top start a fight!


What the fuck happened to us?


We gave up for a period, listened to people who could not care less about us, and now we’re paying the price. Police have been taught that citizens are the enemy, citizens are told all police are an occupying army bent on crushing them and in both examples neither group has done nearly enough to counter the corrupt and despicable elements around them. The government isn’t run by the people but by the big money donors, the oligarchs who fund the politicians. And what might be the single largest problem facing us, outside of the corrupt government, Racism, classism, homophobia, and religious hate have all been normalized and given a voice by a media controlled by the same oligarchs who’ve bought the politicians. Don’t believe me? Look it up the same six corporations own almost all the news media in the nation and the owners donate HEAVILY to politicians.


Unfortunately, if we want to change this, dark days still lie ahead of us.


Fifteen years ago more than three thousand Americans died in the worst tragedy on American soil in living memory. Many of those people were New York City Police and Firefighters who knew it was bad and did their job anyway. We came together that day like never before and for a moment there seemed to be a silver lining shining brightly in the darkness, ash, and death.


What would those people say about what we’ve become?



– Josh

Josh Hilden

When I was born on August 3, 1976 in the great state of Michigan the hills shook and the sky was swept with fire. These were portents of the greatness for my future that was written in the stars ... I'm still waiting for that greatness. My name is Josh Hilden and I am many things. I am a husband, a father, a son, a friend. These are all important things but at my core I am an artist and the medium that I work in is words. I am a writer of Horror, Science Fiction, Drama, and Role Playing Games. I worked for Palladium Books ( and Third Eye Games ( before striking out on my own and founding a small press publishing company Gorillas with Scissors Press ( I also work for Fat Goblin Games ( In the everyday world I can be found spending time with my family and friends. I have been married to my lovely wife Karen since 1996 and we have six amazing children. We tend to be a family of unabashed geeks and gamers who were geek before geek was chic. If you are really interested in me I am very active online with a personal and a writing blog along with a plethora of social media outlets. If you have any questions or just want to chat hit me up!