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How has 9/11 affected your life? Two young Bay Area men recall being called ‘terrorists’

By Queena Kim, Tanya Jo Miller and Jamie Hansen | 8 Sep 2011

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This video is one in a series run in partnership with The Bay Citizen and Decade911.com.

Alex Molina, 22, a writer from San Jose, recalls an encounter with a police officer after 9/11. (Photo: Jamie Hansen)

After 9/11, schools and municipalities across the country added the charge of “terroristic threat” to their disciplinary codes. For folks who grew up long before 9/11, it can sound more like the stuff of action thrillers than real life.

That was our attitude when we first heard Alex Molina tell his story. We asked Alex, “How has 9/11 affected your life?”

It’s a broad question, and we got a long, unwieldy answer. But then, toward the end of our interview, Alex said as an afterthought that it seems police can call anything — from tagging walls to fighting — terrorism. Alex had heard from older friends that that wasn’t always the case, but he shrugged it off.

And so did we, until we met John Doe — not his real name. John requested anonymity because he’s in the military and is afraid that there might repercussions for expressing his views.

Here are their stories:

Alex Molina, 22, is a writer from San Jose. He said once a police officer threatened to arrest him as a “terrorist.”

“I guess after every big incident like [9/11], you lose rights,” he said.

 

“John Doe” is in the military. In the eighth grade, he was arrested for making a “terroristic threat.”

“I feel very aware of how scared the nation is of the smallest potential threat,” he said.

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