It was a Tuesday morning. 7th grade has been underway for little under two weeks and the girl of my 13 year old dreams was staring out the window during first period Social Studies. As I wondered how I would find an excuse to bump into her during lunch without my friends seeing me and calling me a freak lover the rest of the day, the PA blared out abruptly. “Attention all students, we would like to inform you that the remainder of today’s classes will be canceled. We are in the process of notifying your parents of the situation so they will be able to pick you up as soon as able. Please quietly follow your teachers as they escort you to your assigned homerooms where we will begin early dismissals. We ask you to remain quiet and pay attention to your homeroom teachers as they give you further instructions.” No one stayed quiet as the rumors began flying while the teachers filed out of the room to receive those further instructions.
We all knew something big had happened. As a few people began pulling out their cell phones (the relatively few 13 year olds who had a cell phone back in 2001 that is), we started hearing a mish-mash of what had actually happened. One said it was just a simple plane crash over the Hudson. Another corrected him and said it had crashed into a building. No one in the room knew there had been two and that they had done so on purpose. It wasn’t until I had been picked up by my dad that I was told what had actually happened; a group of Muslim extremists had hijacked several planes and crashed into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon. As I stood outside my school in Borough Park, Brooklyn while my dad signed me out, I looked out into the horizon and could see it, the barely noticeable but sharply discomforting smoke rising from the Manhattan skyline. The Twin Towers had fallen.
The memory of 9/11 brings out a lot of different emotions for a lot of different folk. Being a native New Yorker myself, it’s almost obligation to feel some sort of bond to that day, no matter how far removed from it you might be personally, and to be fair I think I play that part dutifully (though anyone who knows me knows I’ve made my share of tasteless jokes too). You can argue about the global aftermath, the political consequences or the stunning intelligence failures surrounding that day till your throat gives out, but honestly I couldn’t care less about most of that. No, my particular sore spot with that day has not so much to do with the events of that day, but rather with those who are incapable of believing what happened that day actually did happen.
With most conspiracy theories, it’s easy to step aside and feel a sense of pity for their ardent believers. You recognize the sheer silliness of a hollow earth, fake moon landings or the Xbox Kinect and you can’t help but smile and shake at your head at them because they’re just so confused and they don’t know any better. You think you’re better than them, even if you would never say it out loud and so they’re hardly worth your attention except as something to make fun of.
Well that isn’t the case with the 9/11 Truth Movement. For myself at least. It’s not pity I feel, but anger. Anger at those who would subvert reality to create their own Tom Clancy novel. Anger at those who, despite having heard their claims disproved again and again by objective reputable sources who poured hundreds of man-hours and contacted hundreds of sources for their research, continue to bring up the exact same illogical and just plain retarded points. At those same people who pollute the airwaves with meaningless drivel about finding out the truth when their entire campaign is based around misleading statistics, out of context quotes or just outright deception, all so they can parade out their inconsistent and disjointed “truth”.
And especially anger at the likes of Dylan Avery, who at his very best is a narcissistic prick who shows up to 9/11 memorials and tries to convince the widow of an airline pilot that the government killed her husband and at his worst is a narcissistic and opportunistic prick who began his career as a conspiracy theorist by creating a fake documentary about the government causing 9/11 and mysteriously decided midway through that in fact it wasn’t fake at all when he realized that there was a rabid population of those who would literally believe anything said about anything ever and give him plenty of attention and donations to go along with it. Who cares if it means exploiting the deaths of thousands, right?
That isn’t the worst of it though. It’s the fact that I do feel anger about all those things. Because you can’t combat that sort of thinking by playing fair and I know it. You can’t use rationale or research to convince the true believers, because it’s not about whether or not there was a controlled demolition of WTC 7, it’s about the idea that the people above us in power are cold-heartedly EVIL and would(and can) do anything to control every aspect of our lives. It’s about painting the world as black and white; the overwhelmingly evil (as opposed to just the overwhelmingly selfish) forces that attempt to brainwash us and the strong few who stand up against it by posting on internet forums. It’s a mindset you’re combating, a contradictory one that believes that a highly organized cabal of people can pull off the most elaborate and flawless execution of thousands while deceiving the vast majority of reporters, engineering, forensic, aviation and demolition experts but immediately be caught by a few grainy stills of a photograph.
It’s not even really about the 9/11 Truth movement; every conspiracy theorist, Holocaust denier (of which there are plenty of in that 9/11 movement), creationist or alternative medicine practitioner operate under the same M.O.; find a belief and shape your evidence around it, and that is entirely the opposite of how science progresses and how I myself would hope to look at the world. My anger, even if justified, is also just an example of betraying that principle. Science doesn’t care if Dylan Avery is a fucker who would say anything to get people to notice him or if there are those mired in self delusion or even if I call myself a rational skeptic, all it cares about is unbiased, testable and reliable proof for any claims made. The human experience has everything to do with how 9/11 affected our personal lives or collective psyche but has nothing to do with whether two planes did or did not crash into the Twin Towers. That’s the job of evidence and of science. Mixing up the two is what creates a conspiracy theory: an idea that twists the facts to justify its existence, rather than one that is created and supported by those facts.
But knowing that about science doesn’t stop a Dylan Avery and his flunkies from showing up to Ground Zero so they can hawk his DVD’s about the truth or from misleading others into believing his flimsy story because he might be charismatic and they might want to believe his mindset more than the reality. And it doesn’t stop me from wanting to show up on 9/11 at Ground Zero and cold cock a Dylan Avery for exploiting tragedy. It doesn’t do anything but present the facts, and while thankfully that’s enough for a good number of folk, it’s apparently not enough for 36% of the U.S. population. And that makes me angry.
That’s it for this week. Catch a new posting every Monday/Tuesday. Contact me via the comments or at Eddycara4@gmail.com. I’ll seeya guys around.
PS- A big thanks to the Popular Mechanics article, “Debunking 9/11 Myths“, as well as all other linked sites for this week’s research. Anyone interested in that objective proof should definitely check that out as well as this paper on Dylan Avery or the site Screw Loose Change and decide for themselves.