Though the streets of dozens of American cities were eerily quiet following Tuesday's devastating attacks in New York and Washington, Internet chat rooms and community boards exploded with cries for answers, action and revenge.
"The towers, the Pentagon ... I feel like we are sitting ducks for maniacs. We need to find out who, why and deal harshly with the perpetrators," read a posting on the online "Table Talk" forum for Salon.com, a popular news and feature site.
Others could barely conceal their rage.
"We must bring the same level of death and suffering to those who brought this to us. We are Americans, and this is America. We cannot allow these animals to get away with this," said Ranger1984, on Military.com.
"Let's use RED and BLACK ribbons ... Black, to mourn the loss of life, and Red, to represent the Blood that will flow as a result ... Pardon me, but I am VERY angry," wrote Chad, urging Americans not to post yellow ribbons for those who had been lost.
Some Web surfers seemed lost in their attempt to understand what had happened. "So, unless you believe terrorists will now unilaterally decide they've 'bagged their limit' and retire ... how do you stop them?" asked user Pedigree, on Metafilter.com. "Especially if you refuse to make them pay a dear and personal price for their actions."
Other postings sought blame elsewhere, faulting the Bush administration's Middle East policy. "He's ignoring the Middle East completely - are we surprised this sort of thing happened, awful as it is?" asked Damnedmad, a writer whose name seemed to reflect his attitude.
The Free Republic site (www.freerepublic.org) offered an arena for users unhappy with the way politicians were handling the situation.
"Sadly, I'm seeing too many politicians and opinion makers commenting that the guilty ones need to be brought to justice as if they were bank robbers. President Bush needs to ask Congress for a declaration of war against terrorists and those governments that harbor them, and Congress needs to find the courage to declare it."
The user Mosch used tech-haven Slashdot.com’s forum to assert, "Don’t glorify the skills of these cowards, especially when any high school senior could tell you that this will succeed."
Wired.com, which attracts a cyberskilled readership, offered some words to inspire patient reasoning, while Military.com’s message boards were full of talk about how to destroy the enemy.
Some tried to take the moral high road.
On Wired.com, Bill asked: "I ask myself not to retreat to hatred ...we must all stand together, to allow compassion to be the victor. Anything less is handing victory to terror, and that makes us all less human."
In less than two days, FOXNews.com received over a thousand e-mails, in which users and news channel viewers voiced their outrage. "I am tired of people in the media telling me that I 'hurt' and that I am 'scared' or 'shocked,' wrote Texas native Marc. "The attack on the WTC and the Pentagon was an attack — a PERSONAL attack — on me. I feel only one thing. Anger."
But perhaps Bill’s words on Citysearch.com’s New York page summed up sentiments best.
"The people of NYC are pulling together like never before and we will succeed," he wrote. "We will rebuild, we will get back to life. But we will NEVER forget."