Ten years ago, on the morning of September 11, I was in my apartment in California getting ready for work when a friend called. “Turn on the TV,” she said.
“What’s going on?”
“Just turn on the TV.”
I turned on the tube in time to see the second airliner crash into the south tower of the World Trade Center. My first thought: How horrible—thousands of people are dying. A few seconds later, my second thought: The government is going to use this to take away our liberties.
I called my parents in Arizona and some friends. Then I called my editor at the Orange County Register. She said to come in to the office, about 15 miles away in Santa Ana, and we’d figure out what we were going to do. I drove in, listening to the radio. Traffic, usually clogged, was light, and the tension on the freeways was palpable. Some reports said that there could be further attacks, including in Southern California. Only one more attack occurred—on the Pentagon. A fourth plane was hijacked, but passengers overcame the hijackers, and the plane went down in rural Pennsylvania, killing everyone on board.
At the Register, we watched the TV and checked the web. The Register was, and still is (despite recent ownership changes), the largest noninterventionist newspaper in the country. We patched...