Posts Tagged ‘9/11’

One Sunny Morning

Posted: September 11, 2011 in Life
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That fateful morning, I was grumbling, because I was late for work. My office was 50 km. (30 miles) away and I had to wait for the next city to city commuter bus.

Funny what you remember, isn’t it? The little things. The bus air conditioning was freezing, almost unbearable. I remember cursing inwardly, because I hadn’t thought it necessary to bring a jacket.

Seemed obviously warm out – the sun was shining in a clear blue sky. I remember trying to figure out what side of the bus I should sit on, to avoid the sunlight once the bus pulled out of the station.

There were maybe about 20 people on the large bus. One of the benefits of catching the late bus. It meant it wouldn’t be necessary to share a seat with anyone. A silver lining in every cloud.

A week before I had purchased a cool set of orange headphones, which served only one purpose: to play AM-FM radio stations. I put them on and dialled into a local rock station, and, ignoring my rapidly lowering core temperature, decided to try and sleep my way to work.

I think we had been on the highway for about ten minutes, when a loud voice interrupted my thoughts. Maybe I had been asleep. Can’t seem to remember. I didn’t catch what was being said, but I opened my eyes and noticed other people looking around and at each other. So I took off my headphones and sat up straighter.

It was the bus driver, and he was using the P.A. system to speak. “A plane has just crashed into the second World Trade Center in New York.”

“Oh’, I thought. “Wow. Must have been a hell of a pilot error. Wonder how many people were hurt. Seems like a tragedy.” Then I thought “but why is he talking about it? It’s just one plane. Probably a four seater Cessna. Why so dramatic?”

“This is the second plane to crash into the towers. I’m being told it’s a terrorist attack.”

I remember blinking in confusion, and then looking at others. It honestly seemed like a bad joke. Like he was playing with the P.A. system. It took a while for the surreal feeling to subside, and my logical mind to catch up. Still, I felt sure he had gotten it wrong.

So I slapped on my headphones and found the news station on the A.M. dial. That’s when it was confirmed, and more information was being broadcast.

I spoke up to the rest of the bus. “There are five terrorist planes in the air right now”.

One lady looked at me. “How do you know?”

“I’m listening to a news station.”

People started leaving their seats and gathering closer. I listened closely and, during the course of the trip heard many false reports. The bus driver made another announcement when a plane crashed into the Pentagon. I told the passengers about the final crash in Pennsylvania.

We still had no idea how bad the attack was, or the scope of it. I think we were all still shocked when we got off of the bus in Toronto.

I walked to work, expecting to have to wait outside the doors for about an hour, while the striking pickets let us through slowly. But when I got there, all of the pickets were down, and the labour dispute was forgotten, ignored.

There was no work that day. Employees all gathered around big TV sets in the foyer, rapt, waiting for more information.  We saw people jumping from the towers to escape the flames.   Many of us looked in horror, and many more of us cried.

In the days to follow, I stayed near news sources. I was in a bar one night when President Bush made one of his major speeches about the attacks. As God is my witness, I have never in my life felt so angry at what had been done to our American neighbours. I *wanted* those assholes who had done this dead. Needed them to die.

When Bush said the United States was going to take the fight to the terrorists, I applauded along with everyone else in the bar. Stupid, isn’t it? Bush and the Americans couldn’t hear us. Yet we felt compelled to applaud.

I remember thinking that for all of our cross-border disagreements over trade, and free movement across our borders and politics and what-have-you, all of any brotherly rivalry seemed to just fall. Immediately. As if we had never disagreed. You can argue with my brother all you like, and even call him an asshole. But if you bloody his nose, you’ll have to answer to me. That’s how it is with my own siblings, and it seemed that then, even as now, that’s how it is between Canada and the U.S.

Obstinate Ignorance

Posted: May 5, 2010 in Life
Tags: , , , ,

I guess all of us at one point exercise this trait about something or other.    How many times have you picked up a TV remote that refused to work, likely because the battery was dead, and kept pressing buttons harder and harder in an effort to squeeze that last bit of juice out of it?  (Raises hand)

How many of you in coming up to an elevator where the call light is clearly lit, and yet you’ve pressed the button anyway, confident that the extra push will get the elevator down to you more quickly?  (Looks around in annoyance at all the raised hands)

I call that obstinate ignorance.   The performing of an action or the verbalizing of a point of view that is completely divorced from logic, coupled with the determination to stay the course, despite any compelling arguments that might come our way.

Lately I’ve noticed a seeming plethora of such instances, on a more global scale.

Take this one:

9/11 was an action undertaken by Jews/the Pentagon.

Muslim extremists were the first to pounce on the idea that Jews deliberately set up the scenario for 9/11 and are quick to point out that Jews either didn’t show up for work that day at the Twin Towers, or else they left the buildings before they crumbled to the ground.  It didn’t take long for that piece of filthy nonsense to make the rounds of the conspiracy circuit.

Others think that the warmongers in the Pentagon set it all up.  They will tell you that the buildings were so structurally sound that it was impossible for them to come down the way they did, short of the prior existence of strategically placed explosives, and oh my God – the doors to the rooftops were closed AND locked as well, which just proves conclusively that it was an inside job.

I have words to say about this, but am trying my level best to keep this blog as clean as possible.   I will tell you however that my digestive system is reacting quite badly right now.  I think I may have broken some internal organ.

Or there’s this one:

If we just dialogued with Muslim nations, listened to what they had to say and took them seriously, they wouldn’t hate us.

Some people actually believe this.  They think that no one in the Christian west will give Muslims the time of day, and that Muslims resent this and are just “acting out” by indiscriminately killing innocents, all in an effort to be heard.  They really believe the problem is one of lack of dialogue.

This last one however really gets my heart racing:

If we’re not careful, we’ll end up with health care just like Canada’s, where you have to wait a year to get cancer treatment.

Usually this is first opined by a health care lobbyist, who in turn influences a senator who repeats it, whose comment then gets picked up by a newspaper or two, after which people at large will tell you their opinion of “socialized medicine”.  Ultimately Sarah Palin will tell you about her worries about death panels.

So what do these conspiracy theories have in common?

1) Laziness.   Those who repeat these theories have not taken the time to actually do research.  Instead, they have listened to one side of the argument only, and in some cases have hoarded the “proofs” in order to seem halfway intelligent when talking about it.

2)  Wrong order of argument.   Any researcher or scientist will tell you that when you approach an issue, you must do your level best not to come at it with preconceptions.  They will tell you to look at all the facts, gather all the evidence, form a hypothesis based upon your evidence, TEST IT, and when you’re sure your hypothesis holds true, adopt your argument as a valid theory.   And you should probably hold that theory at arm’s length, in case more data comes to light that tests your theory.

Let’s go back to the first example: 9/11

The illogic here just blows me away.   Yes, the doors on the rooftops may well have been closed and locked, preventing folk from escaping by helicopter.    I work in a large building too, containing thousands of employees.  I frigging guarantee you those rooftop doors are closed and locked.   You know why?   Because building management doesn’t want to pay extra insurance premiums.  It’s a safety issue.  Can’t let people climb to the roof where they may ultimately decided to jump off.  Not in a corporate building anyway.  Not in my apartment building either.

Conspiracists forget the visions of Palestinians shooting their guns off in celebration of 9/11 too.   They completely ignore the fact that there are records of the terrorists who went to flight school.  There are paper trails everywhere.   They don’t want to know the names of Jewish people who died when the buildings collapsed.    That would blow their argument wide open.

Conspiracists will point to the damage done at the Pentagon, and will  opine that it’s impossible for an airplane to do that.    Their illogic won’t even look at the victims of that damage – the people in the Pentagon, some of whom were killed.

Conspiracists will flip the argument around.  They will start with their idea, and then they will try to accumulate observations to support their claim.  It’s classic.  And it stinks.

Let’s go the second example: the idea that we “just need to talk to” Muslim extremists.

Once again, there’s an issue of laziness.   A close look at the dogma they espouse will inform the inquiring mind that they’re not the least bit in discussing anything with the Kaffir (which is us).  They refer to us as pigs and monkeys, and really – why would anyone in their right minds talk about anything with pigs and monkeys?    Also, it’s ok to kill us, because we’re not humans.  We’re pigs and monkeys.

No, the only way they’ll stop hating us, is a:) we convert; or b) we die.   It’s really as simple as that.   And oh by the way:  it’s ok for them to tell us whatever we need to hear, if it advances their cause.  How is Allah going to blame them for lying to pigs and monkeys?

Don’t take my word for it though.  Look it up – the information is everywhere.  Keyword:  Wahhabism.

And finally we come to the last example:   Canadian Health Care.   If you think you saw a bee in my bonnet before, just trot this one out in front of me and watch what happens.

The easiest way to learn about Canadian Health Care is to ask a Canadian.  Friends of mine on another forum have done just that, and have been mildly surprised at our answers and reactions.    Let me state it bluntly:  the senators and other politicians who sound  warnings about our health care are lying.  Some are doing so knowingly but my guess is that most are doing so in obstinate ignorance.  Once again, their point is made:  Canadian health care is abysmal.  And then the lobbyists (two guesses who forms the bulk of the lobbying majority here) will try to round up some facts to support their absurd conclusion.

They will ignore the fact that when I broke my leg recently, I saw a doctor within a half hour on the same day.  That I then went to my family doctor the next morning (no waiting for three weeks to see her), received a requisition for an ultrasound and an x-ray which were done in record time.

They will also hide their faces from the facts around my mother’s cancer.   The fact that she was diagnosed and received treatment in record time, despite the fact that she lived out in a rural area of the province.

They will also ignore the fact that there are U.S. hospitals where the emergency wait times are roughly five hours, and that Canadian hospitals have comparable wait times.   The last time I went to the emergency department, my total stay from the time I went into the hospital to the time I left, was something like three hours.


The reasons all three of the conspiracy theories above have so much traction can be summed up in two words:  obstinate ignorance.  Too many people are happy to believe what they’re being told; they don’t want to change their mind, and so they have chosen to ignore all contrary data.

Thus the lies grow.