To the editor of THE EAGLE:

Yes, 9/11 was spectacularly awful. Thousands perished in a conflagration of cinematic spectacle. I was a scant two miles uptown from ground zero on that day and witnessed dazed, confused and dust-covered citizens treading miles home on a clear, bright September day.

But also give credit to a marvelously planned and executed escapade of great ingenuity that sent two guided missiles into the flanks of two towers on a warm and cloudless morning -- a plot that entirely escaped security detection against two buildings that were ill-designed to withstand hyper-stress.

And still, 14 years later, we live in fear of attack from groups seeking our harm. Well, it’s time to get over it and return to rational assessments of real and present dangers because we have let the horror of 9/11 warp our brains of sane reflection.

We are constantly urged by our leaders and ourselves to beware the bogeyman. We have even built a spectacular monument to the bogeyman in lower Manhattan on the site of our fear. We are still looking under the figurative bed, removing our shoes at the airport. Isn’t the parade past the TSA wardens slightly comic? We have spent billions and wasted many lives fighting the bogeyman, meanwhile killing each other on our streets and in our schools. Is this not a serious sickness, a major dysfunction in a so-called great nation?

It’s time to suck it up, citizens. It’s time to get on a plane without removing our shoes and to tell our keepers, "I’m not going to be afraid anymore." Yes, bad things happen, people. But you can’t live forever in fear of the bogeyman. It’s time to grow up.

We quake at even the softest whisper of "terrorist," and our reasoning faculties immediately shut down. We allow our ideals of justice and forgiveness to be compromised and we allow those who profit from our fear to be rewarded.

What would Jesus do? Well, ever pragmatic, Jesus said, "Do not fear those who would kill the body but cannot kill the soul." (Mt. 10. 28). In our irrational fear we have killed our own souls. We are our own terrorists.

CHARLES HAYNES

Lee