I don’t need to explain what September 11th / 911 is to anybody. But, much like the “Where were you when Kennedy got shot?” or “Where were you when you heard Kurt Cobain died?” stories, I have my own “Where were you when you heard about 911″ story. And a story about 11/11 as well!
On 9/11/2001, I was unemployed. I was sleeping on the couch, intending to go to a job fair. The phone rang, waking me up. I heard Kipp’s voice talking about seeing if I was okay. I remember being quite annoyed because I was okay — until my beauty sleep was ruined. I roused myself from the downstairs couch I was sleeping on, and walked the long ways around the house (no spiral stairs back then) to the bathroom. It was around then that I noticed a bunch of fire trucks blaring by. What the hell???
It wasn’t too much longer after that that Carolyn called me up and said, “Clint — You’re not going to that job fair today.” “What?!” “Terrorists have crashed 2 planes into the World Trade Center…” At the time, rumors were rampant that there were still planes over Fairfax County. The land line phones, for the most part, were useless — all lines were tied up. It took 10+ tries to get any call through. The Internet became the only constant flow of information. I got onto a DALnet IRC chat room and received realtime updates. I posted a video of the plane hitting to my ACM web account (since deleted by a jerk named John Edstrom of Virginia Tech) THAT VERY DAY. Months later, when I removed the video, I was contacted by a South American truth advocacy group and asked to put it up, because it was the only link to that particular plane crash video that put up ON 911, and was being used to establish truth against South American groups who didn’t believe it happened. It had historical value, and remained there until 2009 when the aforementioned jerk decided it’s too easy to get web space elsewhere and kicked us out of our 16-year e-homes.
It was a frantic day. I called my grandparents, who lived more or less within sight of the Pentagon, to see if they were okay. This was the only time I spoke to my grandfather after the post-interracial-marriage estrangement and before I spoke to him on his deathbed. Somebody had jury duty, and the judge simply watched TV and dismissed everyone instead.
FAST FORWARD ONE MONTH TO THE ANTHRAX ATTACKS…
Unemployed, watching CNN so constantly that I didn’t turn it off when I went to sleep, having dreams about Israel and such, I knew that “9/11″ was a bad day, and thus 911 was a bad number. But the anthrax attacks were far more terrifying. The news of them started on 10/4 – almost exactly 1 month after 9/11 (though the attacks started sooner than that, and Dick Cheney started taking ciprofloxacin on 9/11!). It felt like a second wave. Each day the news showed the infected buildings spreading, and reported on more people being infected.
Now I had read whitepapers about all the chemical weapons we gave Iraq to use against Iran, and about how easy it is to kill people. 50 gallons of anthrax dispersed over a populated area by a helicopter has the potential to kill more people than the Hiroshima a-bomb. This was when I stopped answering the mail — until 2002. It’s how we became a PayMyBills.com/E-Trust/PayTrust customer. This was a good decision. Ottilie Lundgren, of Connecticut, was diagnosed with inhalation anthrax and succumbed to it soon thereafter. The source was never determined, but said to most likely be contaminated mail — although no anthrax was detected in her home. Thomas L. Morris and Joseph P. Curseen both worked at the Brentwood USPS postal center, and were told by the government that it was safe to work there. All 3 of those people died because they believed their government when the govt told them everything was fine. In reality, the government would rather lie and avoid a panic, because a panic would probably cause more deaths than the attacks themselves.
However, I disagree with that policy. Those that die in a panic die because they are dumbasses panicking. Telling the truth allows smart people to make smart decisions. Let the dumb people trample each other and riot. I’d rather be able to take my government’s word — which I don’t. I’d rather the government say what’s truthful, even if it means more people die. Personal responsibility — don’t treat us like fucking sheep to be herded by “it’s okay” lies when it’s NOT okay. I hope the families of Curseen and Morris sued the government. Naming the postal center after them is a joke. They died because their bosses thought delivering the mail in the middle of a mail-based terrorist attack was more important than being safe. Cheney was taking Ciprofloxicin on 9/11 before the Anthrax attacks even happened, but Curseen and Morris had to die so that some people wouldn’t get their mail a day later. Fuck that. Bad decision, USPS. But then again, USPS makes tons of bad decisions. Like paying $50K for a learning management system and then not using it when developing e-Learning. I speak from personal experience.
FAST FORWARD ANOTHER MONTH TO 11/10 — HERE’S WHERE IT GETS CREEPY
I’d been noticing that 9/11 happened, then on 10/11 there were attacks, so I simply assumed that on 11/11 there would be an attack.
I went to sleep, leaving CNN on the television. “When I wake up,” I thought to myself, “there will be a smoldering plane on television.”
I fell asleep.
I woke up mid-morning. There was a smoldering plane on television! It was the Rockaway Beach plane crash. The 2nd deadliest accidental plane crash in American history.
It was very creepy calling something so significant like that.
I was very happy when nothing happened on 12/11! Though I was quite paranoid and fearful for some time after 9/11. Finally, I got over it, realizing that car accidents kill more people every month than terrorism has killed in the entire American history. The real threat is not Al Queda, but Virginia drivers. Which was why I supported the enhanced penalties which have since been done away with.
Apparently signing away our constitutional rights and torturing sometimes-innocent people is okay, but damn if they charge someone $1200 for actually endangering my life via reckless driving.
So anyway…. Once upon a time, I called a plane crash the day before it happened. Scary stuff. (more…)