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10 September 2011 @ 12:47 am
9/11 conspiracy theorists make me very cross, and other bits ...  
Am still improving on the flu front, damn post-viral cough still sticking around, but I am definitely winning the battle! However, so snowed under with catching up on work that I've been hopeless on LJ and will continue to be spotty for a bit. I have about 42 tabs open of things I must read, about a third of them from wemyss and 17catherines ... Sunday looks hopeful as a reading day!

It being the week before September 11 and the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the US, there have been a lot of stories in the news. Most of these are, as they can only be, heartbreaking, and the sort of thing that makes you want to reach out to the nearest stranger and just do something in the name of human sympathy.

And yet in the comments threads below (for I have turned into one of those people who Takes Their Papers Online), there are a staggering number of people declaring that the whole thing was a government plot and the attacks were all staged.

Which I find infuriating. I can only imagine what it must be like for the average sensible American. But I have a proposed solution.

Buzz Aldrin.

For those who have no idea what I am talking about (cut to the last 15 seconds if you want the short version):

If it were made law that Buzz Aldrin could punch every conspiracy nut who flies in the face of overwhelming evidence, the world would be a better place. I know that violence is not the solution, but he's 81, so he's very unlikely to really hurt anyone, and he's an old-fashioned gentleman, so women and children will just be given a Disappointed Look. Plus it will keep an American Treasure fit in his ninth decade! He may have to give himself a little jab over his thoughts on climate change, but he's an engineer, and engineers and geologists are the most likely to be wacky there. And at least he's of the genuine 'Eh, I'm not convinced' rather than the nutty 'It's a Scientists' Plot' set.

The next time I read 'Actually, the CIA ...' over the next few days, I am going to imagine Buzz wading in, and feel a bit better about things.

In good work news, final sales figures from my last issue brought Rare But Solid Praise from the Powers That Be, which is good news as it means I may have a next issue. Given that print is allegedly dead, this is never a certain thing. But I have the Best Ever Knitting Extract in the process of being sorted for Winter 2012, so I will cry if it doesn't go ahead. And I have both Australia and New Zealand in the office Rugby World Cup sweep, and drew South Africa for my friend. One of my work besties has England, so fingers crossed! (And sorry in advance to both Australia and New Zealand for jinxing them.)
oldenuf2nboldenuf2nb on September 9th, 2011 03:30 pm (UTC)
I'm so glad that you're feeling better! I've missed your posts; they always make me smile.

I haven't heard the conspiracy theorists, but then, if there were any here what Buzz did would be very minor, indeed. We have our own wack-jobs; *coughglennbeckcough*.

I've lived long enough that there are three events which are branded into my memory; John Kennedy's assassination. *I was six, but I remember vividly my mother crying*. The Challenger explosion; my first thought was, OMG, that teacher is on board. And Nine Eleven. It left a scar on our national consciousness that won't begin to fade until everyone who was alive on that day is dead, and maybe not even then, although people do tend to forget things they didn't experience first hand. It was one of the few times I had no idea what to say to my children by way of reassurance; I was so devastated that there were no words. And I remain to this day so raw about it that I don't think I'll even turn on my television this weekend. It changed something about us as a people. I think some would say that we could stand to lose some of our swagger, and I can't disagree with that, but it was something else, something deeper. The belief that it's safe to get on an airplane, the belief that it's safe to go to work, the belief that it's safe to, for even a short time, be separated from your children. All of that is gone, and I know I'll probably be looking over my shoulder for the rest of my life. I am often at odds with what my government does (believe me, they do not ask our permission for their madness or we never would have gone into Iraq; trust me) but that day the repercussions of decades long decisions was visited on people who had never done anything more heinous than go to work, and I'm not sure those of us who watched the Twin Towers fall will ever be the same. Ever.
oldenuf2nboldenuf2nb on September 9th, 2011 03:34 pm (UTC)
I would merely like to add; Go, Buzz, you wiry old bastard. Hit him again.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on September 11th, 2011 10:32 am (UTC)
I rarely approve of violence as the solution, but in this case ...
shu_shu_sleepsshu_shu_sleeps on September 10th, 2011 12:32 am (UTC)
What you've said here is so very, very true - no-one who had exposure to the Twin Towers falling (where in the US or elsewhere) will ever be the same, its become a pivotal moment in history but hard though it may be, its vital that we can balance controlling the fear you have described. A fear which is very real, and highly understandable. We have to move past it, manage it, learn from it and challenge it (the fear that is) otherwise the terrorists win. My thoughts are with you all this weekend, its going to be tough.
Lisbet Karlsdottirlisbet on September 10th, 2011 08:16 pm (UTC)
Agreed on the scars and still feeling raw. And no TV this weekend for me, either. If it gets turned on, it will be to watch a DVD only. Actually I think there might be a new Netflix in my mailbox (hoping)!
blamebramptonblamebrampton on September 11th, 2011 11:18 am (UTC)
I have banned myself from acknowledging the existence of Glenn Beck. It's for the best all round.

I was born after Kennedy died, for me, it's the moon landing (whether that's a real memory or not, who knows?), Lennon's assassination, Nelson Mandela's release, Rabin's assassination, and 9/11.

We were watching The West Wing, of all things, and the first plane was announced during a newsbreak, but then we went back to Jed Bartlett railing at God for the senseless death of Mrs Landringham. That a fictional US president should be calling out God on his willingness to tolerate gross unfairness and bastardry as real life events turned so horribly bleak is a coincidence that has not ceased to resonate with me. It ended just in time for the news to come back and announce the second plane had hit. We did not go to bed that night.

At the time, I was working on an airline magazine, the airline quickly tanked in the following weeks, and I was made redundant. I came over to visit friends in the US, especially an ex who had often worked at the Pentagon. It was not the US I had known in the past, in fact, as I transited from my international flight to my domestic to San Diego, I was moderately frightened to see young marines with very large guns everywhere. It was like being in Syria in the late 1970s, and every bit as wrong.

It was easily the strangest visit of my life: I have never hugged so many Americans nor been so terrified of others. The level of human charity in most was inspiring, while the level of crazy in the few was an alarming foretaste of where politics would go in the next 10 years. Part of me wanted to stay and hug people and just say, 'It will be OK, you will be OK', while the rest of me had never been so glad to get on a plane as when I left.

I have to say that I have never been afraid of terrorists in America. I'm usually afraid of Americans, because you guys shoot each other all the time and there are a lot of bonkers drivers over there. I grew up with terrorism, in the UK and Northern Ireland, in Egypt, in Mozambique and in India. I'm always conscious that I am far more likely to be killed by a motorist.

But I remain angry. Angry that people who failed the basic tenets of their faith could kill so many innocents, angry that they could destroy the lives of so many Muslims who would bear the brunt of the violence they unleashed that day, and angry that a small group of lunatics could change the world so negatively. I think I took to travelling more regularly again after then just as my own personal and ongoing fingers-up.
winstonmomwinstonmom on September 9th, 2011 04:22 pm (UTC)
I am not much for violence, but I would have kick the annoying git where it hurts the most.
9/11 brings so many memories, my daughter was 5 months old and I remember thinking that she was going to grow up in a very different America than her father did.
Yeah! for good selling figures! print for the win!
Nennenenne on September 9th, 2011 08:57 pm (UTC)
I know that feeling. I was pregnant and thought that this was not a world to bring children in to.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on September 11th, 2011 12:15 pm (UTC)
Yes, I'm with you that violence is not the solution, except in small and controlled circumstances where it totally is.

I hope that it ultimately means your daughter grows up in an America that is more solidly a part of the global community and with mutually supportive relationships built through diplomacy and hard work. In 2008 and 2009, I started to see this America. Domestic lunacy has since eroded the gains, but maybe Americans will start to do politics with their heads again, soon.

And thanks, yay print, indeed!
Darry Willis: STUPnursedarry on September 9th, 2011 05:34 pm (UTC)
Dear Conspiracy Theorists, I knew someone who worked in the South Tower. Please to be reading the icon.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on September 11th, 2011 12:24 pm (UTC)
I think in the immediate aftermath of a disaster, people are allowed to be a bit crazy. But there has been so much evidence compiled since then, with so many authoritative figures saying: 'Here's the maths, here's the materials analysis, here's us reconstructing some of those conditions in the lab and getting exactly the same results ' that it just seems willful resistance to maintain that sort of position.

It does make me wonder: who goes through life thinking that their government is that intrinsically corrupt at the same time as being preternaturally capable. And then I remember that Michelle Bachmann exists. Sigh.
Harrold the Flying Sheep: retro_x1harroldsheep on September 9th, 2011 07:09 pm (UTC)
the twin towers, of course not...
...but someone took advantage of the chaos in the collapse of WTC7.

Edited at 2011-09-09 07:10 pm (UTC)
blamebramptonblamebrampton on September 11th, 2011 10:32 am (UTC)
Re: the twin towers, of course not...
That would be gravity. There is a mass of documentary evidence showing that the amount of damage WTC7 sustained when hit by large amounts of the North Tower ignited fires that could not be fought since the water pressure in the whole area had been largely wiped out from the earlier disasters. The combination of structural weakening from the fires and structural damage from the impact of the North Tower sections combined to cause more than enough damage to destroy the building.

What people forget is that the engineering standards the buildings were designed to included reasonable expectations of firefighting ability. On September 9, 2001, those could no longer be met, because there was nothing reasonable happening that day.
Harrold the Flying Sheepharroldsheep on September 11th, 2011 11:09 am (UTC)
Re: the twin towers, of course not...
that would be the first ever time that a steel frame building collapsed due to fire. the temperature of the fire were never hot enough to weaken the superstructure to the point of collapse. also, that it fell SO much like a controlled demolition cannot be discounted.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on September 11th, 2011 12:01 pm (UTC)
Re: the twin towers, of course not...
that would be the first ever time that a steel frame building collapsed due to fire.

That's something that is often said, but it's not actually true. There have been several others. Indeed, (admittedly much smaller) steel-framed buildings essentially melted during the Victorian bushfires the other year, and there was a high-rise steel-framed building in Madrid that partially collapsed due to fire alone without any other damage, since 9/11.

Having read engineering reports on that collapse, the fact that the fire was at the bottom of the building, with all that load above it and the structural stability of that load damaged thanks to the damage from the North Tower, the way that it fell is exactly as the engineering and the maths say that it will fall under such extreme conditions.

People who believe it must have been a controlled demolition because they do not expect the materials to respond the way they did are often basing that belief on the materials working optimally, but we know that was not the case. The fireproofing was compromised, and in the case of WTC7, there was effectively no emergency response once the building was empty, something that is pretty much unheard of in other high-rise fires in the modern world.

Shaym Sunder's reports on the collapses on 9/11 have been open to immense scrutiny from other engineers, mathematicians and other materials scientists able to model accurate recreations of the events have agreed with his conclusions.

I am not an engineer, but I know enough engineers and scientists to know that you cannot convince that many of them to commit fraud in concert. They are, as the Americans would say, ornery buggers!

Harrold the Flying Sheepharroldsheep on September 12th, 2011 02:34 pm (UTC)
Re: the twin towers, of course not...
Optimally, true, but the WAY the building fell, straight down, would have to mean that the structural damage was done evenly along the bottom floor, something that is mathematically unlikely.
Now I write this as being someone who took Civil Engineering at the University of Toronto.

I'm watching this now: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b74naeawdCs&feature=player_embedded#!
Nennenenne on September 9th, 2011 08:59 pm (UTC)
I'm happy to hear that you are winning! :) Just get rid of that cough now.
Wenchilada: Followerswenchilada on September 9th, 2011 09:27 pm (UTC)
Geologists... gotta love 'em. But seriously, go Buzz!
Wenchiladawenchilada on September 9th, 2011 09:37 pm (UTC)
...and Ed Mitchell and Neil!
bk7brokemybrainbk7brokemybrain on September 9th, 2011 09:36 pm (UTC)
This guy is really sick. Honestly, I would have done the same thing at the point of being called a coward, liar and thief. I'd regret losing my temper, but wouldn't regret teaching that sick punk a lesson. And I would have hit him harder. grrrrr.
The worst part is that Buzz kept saying "Get away from me", and trying to remove himself from the situation, and no one helped.
Are these conspiracy theorists categorized under any specific diagnosis? It's bad enough when someone's illness leads them to get wrapped up in a theory like this and troll the internet, but this guy is out in public with his bible making trouble for heroes.
No Holocaust, no moon landing, 9/11 conspiracies - it hurts the people who went through tragedy or sacrificed for their country. I'd like to put this idiot in a room with a dozen 9/11 FDNY widows and see if he comes out alive.

Now I'm getting angry.
When I think of all those get-a-life losers out there poring over hypothetical data about the melting point of steel, how there is no wind on the moon so how could the flag be flapping, or calculating how much fuel it would have taken to actually burn all those human bodies in the camps, I start to lose my shit. How dare they?
Go, Buzz!
shu_shu_sleepsshu_shu_sleeps on September 9th, 2011 09:45 pm (UTC)
Fabulous news about your sales figures, I shall look forward to hearing the best ever knitting extract makes it to print! Lots of positive thoughts coming your way to speed your ongoing recovery. And YAY BUZZ! I also take my papers online, but have to admit I have stopped reading the comments a while ago because I just can't be bothering giving the trolls out there that much attention! Mind you, what passes as journalistic commentary these days is at times a bit of a disgrace - something I'm sure drives you mad.

Edited at 2011-09-10 12:27 am (UTC)
down the hills and round the bendsnorton_gale on September 10th, 2011 01:06 am (UTC)
My nutty in-laws both totally believed 9-11 was a government conspiracy engineered by George Bush. I don't know if they still do. I'm hoping not, but I am afraid to broach the subject. I remember my MIL passionately arguing that she "just knew" that Bin Laden was "innocent."

Glad you're on the upswing... keep getting better!
mrsquizzicalmrsquizzical on September 10th, 2011 04:11 am (UTC)
it's an interesting turn of events when some (possibly healthy) scepticism steps over into delusion like that.

that post viral cough is such a bugger!
jeknijekni on September 10th, 2011 04:48 am (UTC)
Glad to hear you're feeling better. Hope the cough goes away soon.

My ears (um, eyes?) perked up when you mentioned Best Ever Knitting. What magazine will it be in so I will know to buy it? (discretionary spending somewhat restricted these days and all)
Lisbet Karlsdottirlisbet on September 10th, 2011 08:28 pm (UTC)
I LOVED seeing Buzz take action in the video above:)

I've been avoiding the 9/11 anniversary news. I start crying like a baby over just the littlest things. So definitely no TV for me this weekend.

Glad to hear you are recovering!