terrorism

London 3/23/17

It’s a city I’ve been fascinated with since the film, Mary Poppins.   I desperately wanted to go there, to see the place where a soot covered Rob Petrie cavorted on rooftops with a magical, singing nanny  and her flying umbrella.

I was lucky.  I got the chance to vacation there with family exactly three years ago.  We spent a week in London with jaunts to Bath and Salisbury.    It never rained once, we met the kindest people and everyday was a sublime history lesson.

It was such a wonderful experience, which is why  it’s so eerie to realize that we walked on the Westminster Bridge.  We road on a boat on The Thames that embarked from a pier beneath that bridge. We stood in the shadow of Big Ben, the exact same spot that saw so much carnage went down on what had started out for Londoners  as a typical Wednesday afternoon in March.

We’re still in such denial about our barbarism these days.    VVideo taped beheadings throwing homosexuals off tall buildings , placing infidels in small cages with hungry tigers barely make headlines.    Reports of raping  women, then stoning them to death for being the victim barely lasts  one news cycle.    Today’s media  is nothing more than an extension of  some weird polite society in which nothing unpleasant is ever discussed.   It tiptoes around the “T” word.   Of course it was terrorism. And the attacker’s actions should be considered as such, even if he’d been nothing than a  fifth  generation resident of Trenton, NJ and a so-so Presbyterian.

We used to use nouns and verbs in reporting news.  These days?   Screw “alternate media”, we’re well beyond that.  We’re now into “alternate verbiage”.    We’re so worried about offending the offender.   Tell a soldier who fought in Korea or Vietnam that those were mere conflicts.     Some might tell you they’d never go back to Incheon or that tiny village near the Mekong, but in many ways, parts of them never left.  Everyone leaves a psychic footprint, in good times and bad, but in the midst of anything extremely traumatic, it becomes permantently imbedded in the bedrock.

Connections to places are strange things.

In 2000, I was a member of a popular morning radio show.   We spent a week in New York covering the Grammies.     I can remember heading back to the hotel after a show and the cab we shared drove close to the World Trade Center.     We’d all been to New York before, so none of us were tourists at that point, yet as we passed, my fellow passengers  and I admitted we’d never seen the world from a fixed position 110 stories high.    We agreed that a visit would have to be on each of our “to do” lists, but since we had one full day left in New York, we’d have to do it next time.    Sixteen months later, the Twin Towers  were reduced to a twisted, smoldering heap.

On the afternoon of September 11, 2001, I felt like I do right now.  I’m saddened by every tragic terrrorist attack, but it becomes even more personal when you live or work in a place that was bludgeoned by hate.    Or perhaps you played there;  attended a concert at a theater where the audience members were nothing more than human target practice.    What if a few weeks you cheered on your team during a soccer match at a stadium targeted for mass tragedy..     Perhaps you vacationed a few miles from the scene, spent an hour in an airport that was bombed; maybe you knew  someone who knew someone who was on a bus or train that was blown to bits.

I don’t understand what motivates us to use hate to justify anything.    Why does hate seem more powerful?

I don’t know the answer, but perhaps I can offer how it happens,.   According to Cherokee legend, a tribal elder was sitting with his grandson by the fire one night.   He regaled the boy with stories of their people, of wars with enemies,  won and lost.    He then tried to explain to the biggest battle of all–an ancient one that’s fought within every human.   The old man described it as a constant fight between two wolves, equal in size and passion but the exact opposite in what they represented.      One is Evil and he embodies anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority and ego.

The other wolf represents Good.   He encompassed joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.   The child contemplated the story briefly, then asked , “Which wolf wins?”

The grandfather replied simply, “The one you feed.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Past Is Prologue

boston bombgingI was watching previews on one of the Pay-Per-View channels recently and saw this movie that based on the number of palm trees and Cuban restaurants in the background, had to have been set in Miami.   It’s called “Step Up Revolution” and it stars a whole bunch of people I don’t know and focuses  on a premise for which I DO NOT care.     As best I could tell the gist of it concerns young agile, coordinated and choreographed kids, perfectly coiffed and wearing the latest fashions worn only by the most  discerning  of 21st Century militants…

With rhythm.

Apparently, the movie would have us believe that some  big hotel developer wants to build the granddaddy of all hostels on some land that’s so important these dancers decide that performance art  which entertained the city with flash mob demonstrations in the damndest of places, simply isn’t enough….they need ‘protest art”.   And as best I could tell, this involved various impromptu stagings of the cast of “Fame”, dancing atop taxi cabs, bike racks, marquee signs and on my last nerve.

Protest art???????

MEMBER OF THE  ESTABLISHMENT:   “What was that move you just made, young man?”

MILITANT HOOFER:  “Well Sir, thank you for noticing my interpretive angst.  That was, if I say so myself,  a perfectly executed  grande jété with a healthy dose of  anger and just a  soupçon of belligerence thrown in.  You know—-for good measure!!”   

Explain a furious  fouetté jeté to David Rubin,  Abbie Hoffman, Bobby Seale or  the late Jill Johnston.     I don’t think these very involved Yippies would compare the burning of the University’s admin building,  the takeover of a major college’s ROTC’s HQ or disruption of the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago with any of your moves.    Back in the Sixties and early Seventies when the war was raging in Southeast Asia, these guys made points with Molotov cocktails, causing an explosion here or there and inciting riots–serious riots—-the kind which resulted in brain damage for some unlucky few.  You know, the real rebels who believed in The Cause so much, they  “throwing their heads up against” a policeman’s  billy club repeatedly.

I don’t condone this behavior, but I completely understand the need to be heard, the need to express oneself and think in some misplaced  narcissistic way, that your actions can help change the world.     That said, castigate me if you will, but I can wrap my head around what the Brothers Tsarnaev did at the finish line of the Boston Marathon last week.     I get hate, anger, bitterness and revenge, regardless of the miscues it appears to those who don’t share the terrorists mindset.     I can understand how those feelings, especially in a young person can be idealized, then radicalized.    Argue if you care to, but these are basic human emotions that we all have; the ones that can and do rear their ugly heads from time to time.   Save for the training and intent to randomly murder civilians.

What I  DON’T understand is how that line gets crossed.     I seriously wonder how anyone can take these raw emotions to such an extremely dark place and keep them there so long and so well fed, that the concept of exploding pressure cookers filled with nails, ball bearings and a body count can become normal thinking; a  natural goal for which these mean and women can aspire.   Maiming, death, spilled blood is what matters to them and its best if that blood is red, white AND blue.     What we as a nation have done, are doing and no doubt, what we’ll continue to do, will always be the scarlet elephant in the room.     We do are civilian take downs it under the guise of wartime.     We do it to defeat any one who things differently and threatens said mode of thinking.       And if some unintentional uh…..well, collateral damage happens to be part of the end result???   We all know that old saying:   all is fair in love and war.

The Vietnam war ended in 1975 with the fall of Saigon to the Ruskies.    “Good lord!”, thought the war hawks, “The dreaded Communist hun will take over  and the domino effect will happen after that.    Other countries will  fall and go the way of Larry, The Left Leaner.”

But that didn’t happen.

What took hold of this tiny little country whose populace can create culinary magic with fish heads, was a fairly rapid rise in capitalism, as Communism fell.     I do believe the country still considers itself Marxist or Leninist  but it sure welcomes capitalization.   It now has its first millionaire…or that would “dongianaire”.   Vietnam’s currency is known as the dong (liberation dongs post 1975)  and you betcha things are a hoppin’.      We’re talking  capitalism of the meaty Westernized variety.   These days in Ho Chi Minh City (which was once called Saigon) you can see the same  Starbucks, retail shops and  fast food joints that dot almost every American city, large and small.   There’s even a Louie Vuitton boutique.   Now, that’s a lotta dong for a little bag.

Protest art, bombing civilians with pressure cookers or high-flying unmanned drones,  trying to strong-arm a well-armed cop in the name of peace with your long hair and love beads proudly blowing in the tear gas are efforts that just don’t make sense to me.   No, I’m not getting more liberal,  it’s just that I’ve gotten old enough to see the folly in many causes that once seemed so purposed.     Peace, I’m beginning to think, is really a frame of mind.

I just wish more of us could manifest it.

Beyond that, I don’t understand why we didn’t learn the lessons from September 11th.

And last week, it was like watching  mini-reprisal of that dreadful…one on a non-stop, continuous loop.   Just as I did 12 years ago, I watched in horror the raw, unedited video taken minutes after the bombs exploded in Boston last week.     One of the very first images I saw and will always see when I close my eyes, is that of Jeff Bauman being taken by wheel chair to the race’s First Aid tent.   Both legs beneath the knees had been blown off.    I saw two jagged and bloodied tibias, with no sign of fibulas attached, no sign of muscle tissue either;  .just tattered flaps of skin, gently waving in the breeze created by the movement of his transport.

There were other horrific sights, too; all ghastly images that ‘had’ to be created to prove a point, loudly and clearly.  Dzhokhar  Tsarneav claims that he and his older brother Tamerlan  did it because of their intense faith in the Muslim Brotherhood and for America’s involvement in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and all those civilian deaths in those war-torn regions.     This “protest” killed four people altogether and injured nearly 200.     This was revenge on a small, but effective level.

It’s all immensely tragic, no matter what you call it and yes, there will be those who’ll have the temerity to  call the dead and wounded “collateral damage”.    It’s interesting—Gitmo prisoners were always referred  to “casualties of war”.    I’m

VICTIMS

sure they were considered “victims” from the Taliban’s perspective.

Those who died in the towers, at the Pentagon and at the field in rural Pennsylvania on that balmy September morning 12 years ago victims to us; “casualties of war” for anyone  who applauded the events of that day.

Just words, I know, but try telling explaining either definition to Todd Beamer’s wife,  Barbara Olsen’s husband, the Kurdish woman cradling her dead brother, gassed by rebels.   Say this to the father of Martin Richard, the Boston  bombing’s youngest victim, the little boy with the charming smile who  wouldn’t live to see his ninth birthday.

Perhaps the specific term to be used here  depends on which side of the detonation device you’re on.

Goddamned Semantics. 

Sixteen Hallowed Acres 9/11/13

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PREFACE: I wrote the following blog post on the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks last year. I wanted to pay tribute to the seminal anniversary by digging deep in order to answer questions I had developed over the previous ten years. This isn’t about conspiracy theories or any of that buffoonery; just all that transpired in the seconds, weeks…months and years after 19 religious zealots hijacked four American-owned planes and by slamming three of them into two buildings, and one in a field in rural Pennsylvania, killed just under three thousand people.

In past 12 years, I’ve learned what happened; how it happened; the order of events. I even know more about jihad than I ever wanted to. We all know what happened, why it happened and and how hatred and the skewed ideology that perpetrated it. But there’s still much to learn about that fateful day, such as those little known back stories that never made it to Fox News or The Today Show or on any of those anniversary specials on Biography or the History Channel, narrated by the always eloquent, Edward Hermann.

This is detailed post unchanged since 2011 and its all about the events in New York City on September 11th, 2001 and how it changed me…us…and in many ways, the entire the world.

LK

~

I grew up in the clutches of the Cold War. With the nuclear threat constantly looming from the former U.S.S.R., Ground Zero once refered to the point on the ground directly below the detonation of a nuclear or hydrogen bomb.

Now, practically the whole world calls 16 acres in lower Manhattan, the scene of the worst terror attack on US soil, Ground Zero. It was where the Twin Towers, two 110 story behemoths once stood. What occurred here and at two other locations ten years ago was and still is unfathomable. Thousands of people woke up that balmy Tuesday morning to go to work at a nondescript fire station in Mid Town; to show up for first shift duty at the 1st Precinct; to fly back home from a weekend wedding; to attend a conference in Los Angeles; to work on 93rd floor of the North Tower; as a window washer in the South Tower; to finish up a few things in the office located along the E- ring corridor at the Pentagon. To pilot the last leg of a cross-country trip in a 767, the pride of United Airlines’ fleet.

When the sun set on that tragic day ten years ago, the Pentagon had been attacked and 125 people were killed. Passengers on board United Flight 93 sacrificed their lives when they valiantly thwarted the hijackers’ plans to strike another suicide mission target in Washington, DC, but sadly, tragically, Manhattan became of the epicenter of terror, utter destruction and so much death on that dreadful day.

SEPTEMBER 11, 2001

American Airlines Flight 11 took off from Logan International Airport in Boston that morning, en route to Los Angeles. It began as a very routine flight and unremarkable, but 15-minutes into the flight, the five hijackers, all members of al-Qaeda, incapacitated at least three members of the flight crew and one passenger, forcibly breached the cockpit, and overpowered the pilot and first officer. Mohamed Atta, who was trained as a pilot took over the controls. Air-traffic controllers noticed the flight was in distress when the crew stopped responding to them. They realized the flight had been hijacked when Atta mistakenly transmitted announcements for passengers to air traffic control. Passengers and the remaining flight crew were forced to the back on the plane. There, Flight Attendants, Amy Sweeney and Betty Ong were the first to alert American Airlines that the plane had been hijacked. They were also able to give vital information about the hijackers, such descriptions and seat locations.

The aircraft crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center at 8:46 AM EST. The impact killed all 92 people aboard and an untold number of people in the building. Almost immediately, it became painfully aware to many in the know that this was intentional and not the result of some confused pilot in a Cessna who’d lost his way trying to follow the meandering shoreline of the Hudson on a perfectly clear Indian Summer morning.

And this was no Cessna either. The towers were a perfect square, each side measuring 208 feet across. The plane that hit the North Tower was a 767 with a wingspan of 156 feet. Fire and smoke billowed from the gaping hole it created which extended across most of the facade. You could see the faint outline of the plane exactly where it entered the tower. Keep in mind that most of the mass of a plane is contained within the fuselage, inner wing structure, and engine nacelles. The outer wings and tail surfaces are much lighter structures consisting mostly of a thin skin enclosing empty space. Upon colliding a thick wall composed of a dense material like stone or concrete, these light aerodynamic wings would simply disintegrate.

Flight 11 crashed into the tower between the 92nd and 98th floors at a speed of approximately 494 mph. From a kinetic standpoint, the energy of impact ranged from 2 billion ft-lb (2.6 billion Joules) to 3 billion ft-lb (4.1 billion Joules). The impact was so great that it caused the building to sway backwards about 10-feet and it was especially noticeable on the upper floors. Eyewitnesses reported that they feared it would topple over.

The fireball it created was huge. Jetliners in the 767 fleet can carry up to 23,980 gallons of Jet 1- A at take off. This is a derivative of kerosene. When it burns, it tend to reach higher temperatures . It’s estimated that at the time of impact, each aircraft had just under 20,000 gallons of unused fuel on board. Fireballs fed by office air-filled with atomized jet fuel spilled out of the punctured north wall and adjacent east wall. The jet fuel actually burned off rather quickly but everything else it ignited still burned. A raging fire could be seen on all four sides of the building. It was fueled by carpets, wiring, papers, furniture, ceiling tiles and an almost endless list of other things that served as kindling that morning. The impact also damaged the sprinkler system on several floors.

And just when we thought it couldn’t get any worse, it did. A second plane hit the South Tower.

United Flight 175, carrying an estimated 19-thousand gallons of fuel, slammed into the southwest side at an estimated 537 mph. It created an impact hole that extended from the 78th to 84th floors. It hit the right side of the face at an oblique angle, and much of the fuselage emerged from the east corner. When the jet hit the South Tower, it cut off several routes of evacuating the 30 floors above the impact zone. It did leave at least one stairwell open and passable. The New York Times found at least 18 people who escaped unharmed through that stairwell. Most people above the crash zone had no idea it was a viable escape route and sadly, at least 200 climbed toward the roof in hopes of being rescued via helicopter. They assumed that since roof top rescues had been used in the 1993 bombing, that was still an option. But the doors leading to the roof were locked and even if they’d been open, the smoke was so thick, choppers couldn’t have gotten anywhere near the rooftop.

The evacuation began almost immediately. Those who made it out of the buildings and into the plaza encountered an incredibly gory scene. Many said they had to step over torsos and other body parts; some were charred and barely recognizable as such. It’s believed they came from above; blown out of the upper floors when the planes crashed into the buildings. Firemen and other first responders reported having to drive over body parts when they arrived at the World Trade Center.

As all of this horror unfolded in Manhattan, there were reports of other planes that couldn’t be accounted for; planes that had been hijacked and would be used as Flights 11 and 175 had been: as guided missiles. Their targets were anyone’s guess.

THE JUMPERS

“A plane just crashed into the World Trade Center!!!”, would be a phrase uttered a million times that day. And the horror of it all was reserved for anyone watching…be it in New York from a block away or on a TV in a small town in Arizona. Frightening, terrifying, chaos and pandemonium were all apt descriptions of the situation. And that covers the reactions of those watching everything unfold. It’s almost impossible to imagine what it was like for the people in the towers, more specifically, the floors that were directly impacted and those above feeling the awful effects.

One of the most horrific sights in a day rife with them was that of people plunging to their deaths.

According to eyewitnesses, the jumping started shortly after the Flight 11 struck the North Tower at 8:46 a.mm (EST). Most came from the North Tower’s 101st to 105th floors, where the firm, Cantor Fitzgerald had offices. Others fell from the 106th and 107th floors, where a conference was underway at the renown Windows on the World restaurant. Others leaped from the 93rd through 100th floor offices of Marsh & McLennan. At these locations, it wasn’t flames that forced people to make the horrific choices that turned them into 9/11’s most public victims; it was intense smoke and heat. It’s estimated that temperatures in and around the fires in both towers could have gotten as high as 760°C 0r 1400° F. In the smoke-filled offices above the fires, it would have been terribly hot and very difficult to breathe.

Nearly all the jumpers were from the north tower; Fewer than a dozen were from the south tower. The reason? The fire was more intense and compact in the North Tower. The jet hit higher, so smoke was concentrated in 15 floors compared with 30 floors in the south tower. The North Tower also stood longer: 102 minutes vs. 56 minutes. Twice as many people were trapped on the North Tower’s upper floors than in the South Tower.

Some may have jumped for literally, one last breath of fresh air. Others could have fallen unintentionally, perhaps blinded by smoke and they could have stumbled out a broken window. Or some might have accidentally been pushed out in the crush of people frantically trying to reach an open window…just to be able to breathe.

One man tried desperately tried to rappel down the side of the tower using what looked like clothing and draperies, but he couldn’t hold on, and fell. There were also reports that some tried a crude form of parachuting down from the upper floors, but the velocity generated by the speed of their fall tore the drapes, the tablecloths or whatever fabrics they were able to find, from their grip.

They jumped solo, in pairs…and reportedly, in groups of three and four. USA Today estimated that roughly 200 people died this way. They became the most public victims of the September 11th attacks.

Jumpers proved dangerous to those on the ground, too. One firefighter was killed by a falling body. As Fire Commissioner, Thomas Van Essen exited the North Tower to meet Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a body landed just 15 feet away from where he’d been walking.

On the south side, firefighters reported 30 to 40 bodies on the roof of the 22-floor Marriott Hotel, adjacent to the north tower. On the west side where the big bronze globe was located, bodies and body parts littered the plaza.

Falling bodies also crashed through the awning covering the VIP driveway, leaving gaping holes in the roofing. Blood covered the glass walls and revolving doors that led to the plaza from the second-floor mezzanine in the north tower.

The fall from the upper floors of either tower lasted 10 seconds. Bodies struck the ground at just under 150 miles an hour which wasn’t fast enough to lapse into unconsciousness while falling, but definitely fast enough to ensure instant death on impact. Eyewitnesses say when the bodies landed, the damage was unspeakable. In some cases, the bloody mass of flesh, bone and viscera was barely recognizable as ever having been human.

The sight of people jumping or falling saved lives, too. In the South Tower, people in their offices had a veritable front row seat of this terrible spectacle. Keep in mind that this was all unfolding only 140 feet in front of them in a building that was identical to their own. Many South Tower survivors said the sight of people jumping created an urgency that caused them to leave immediately and ignore announcements that it was safe to return to their desks.

As a result, about 1,400 people evacuated the upper floors before the second jet hit.

THE COLLAPSE

When the planes tore through several stories of both towers, the impact knocked out essential structural columns within the buildings. Older NYC skyscrapers, such as the Empire State Building, were built with reinforced masonry. Its structural steel beams are encased within limestone walls or slabs of concrete 8 inches thick. This heavy mass provides exceptional fire protection that insulates the steel within from excessive heating. Many modern skyscrapers like the WTC towers eliminated this extensive use of stone and concrete to reduce cost. The World Trade Center instead relied on lightweight spay-on coatings for insulation. When the two jets hit the towers, this fireproof cladding was blown off and that meant the steel beams and floor trusses were exposed and unprotected from the raging fire.

And then there was all that fuel which ignited on contact. It acted like a flash flood of flaming liquid; something like a lava flow. It ran down the elevator shafts and literally destroyed the shafts and the sky lobbies–and anyone standing near the elevator doors on 78th, the 44th, the third floors and the basement. Several of the cables which operated the large express passenger elevators which service the sky lobbies, plunged to the main lobby level. At least one of those falling elevators was accompanied by a huge fireball that burst into the main lobby and concourse levels. Only four people are known to have survived in the south tower express elevators.

From a structural standpoint, even in the unlikely event that all of the columns and girders had survived the impact, the towers would fail as the result of a buckling of load bearing columns. The heat from the first wasn’t hot enough to melt the now unprotected steel, but it was enough to weaken it. Especially the support trusses, which weren’t as thick. As a result, the metal expanded, twisted and buckled and this reduced the building’s stability. Connections between vertical columns and floor trusses probably broke, dropping sections of floor on lower levels and breaking connections between the core and the perimeter wall, possibly causing columns along the perimeter to buckle outward. The entire structure was weakened to the point that it couldn’t hold the upper section of the building.

When this happened, true to the properties of physics, the top part of each building collapsed on top of each other. The collapse began at the top. Controlled demolitions begin from the bottom.

The South Tower crumbled first. Floor by floor; windows, walls and ceilings, and tons and tons of steel girders and I-beams fall to the earth. In all, an estimated 400-thousand ton building fell in on itself. Compression blew out windows in the floors immediately below the pancaking process. The downward force of gravity and momentum accelerated it and you could see puffs of smoke, as the immense pressure that sent debris, office equipment and everything else, flying out of breaking windows .

The North Tower fell 30 minutes later.

Some engineers argue that the very design of both towers may have contributed to its collapse. To meet the challenges of wind load, gravity load and related architectural stresses, the WTC’s structural engineers took a then-unusual approach in its construction. Both towers were built like a reverse donut. The inner core housed service risers, housed the elevator shafts and stairwells. The result was super-tall, super-wide office building with uniquely large expanses of column-free floorspace, suitable for just about any build out that a company who rented space could want. So basically, there was little support in the open floorspace, save for exterior walls and when most of the core was damaged–where most of the load was contained, a catastrophic failure, exacerbated by raging fires, was imminent.

It should be mentioned that when the towers were designed in the mid 60’s, they were built to withstand the impact of a 707, which at the time, was the largest plane in the Boeing fleet. It was a slightly smaller, lighter plane than the 767s that hit both towers. Reportedly, not one of the designers or engineers involved, ever took into account the fuel/fire connection.

It’s not clear how many were still alive at the time of both collapses. In the North Tower, it’s believed no one on the 91st floor or above is believed to have survived. The New York Times estimated that 1,344 died in the upper floors. It’s also been reported that at least two jumpers jumped or fell out of the windows as the North Tower began to crumble.

As soon as New Yorkers learned of the attack, they flocked to area clinics and impromptu drives to give blood. Hospitals called in every available staffer and remained on Level 3 alert. They waited and waited for the arrival of trauma patients–who would never come.

THAT AFTERNOON

In those waning hours after the initial attack, as the nation emerged wounded and disoriented from a debris cloud of its own disbelief, its people were glued to TV sets. As reality continued to force feed us the acceptance of a most horrific situation, I realized that after witnessing so many interviews, a shape-shifting in the collective American consciousness was occurring. A rather laissez fare and cavalier attitude toward the government, foreign policy and national defense was rapidly changing in the course of one very event filled afternoon. The paradigm was shifting and a certain amount of nationalism and pride started to surface, in spite of the horror. But that was drummed into silence by an almost primal mélange of base emotions being discussed openly and honestly: despair, grief, anger, shock, dismay, rage, bitterness, disbelief, pain, revenge…

And fear. So much damn fear.

We’d been attacked by the most dangerous nemesis known to man: hate fueled by fundamentalist psychopaths who believed they were divinely inspired and justified by their version of God, to do as they pleased. Plus, this vicious, murderous event occurred on our own soil. It cost us our sense of security. We immediately stopped feeling safe and started feeling vulnerable. We felt duped, as if we’d been had, because the method used–and it must be said—was brilliant in its simplicity. It was treacherous in its total effectiveness.

Perhaps, that’s what made it even more frightening. That somewhere, somehow we, The United States of America, the wealthiest, most powerful country in the world with its extremely sophisticated method of intelligence gathering, had failed. We’d been breached by our own planes, in our own airspace and by a failed system of airport security checks and balances put there to protect us.

We were no longer impervious and September 11, 2001 exposed all of our vulnerabilities that were created out of our own misplaced arrogance.

By late afternoon of that awful, awful day, both towers had fallen, the Pentagon had been attacked, Building 7 collapsed and the news was confirmed regarding the crash of the fourth hijacked plane, United 93 in that field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. We learned that passengers on board that flight bravely banded together to prevent the hijackers from following through with their deadly intent, and forced the plane to crash in a reclaimed strip mine.

Then, we began hearing an awful narrative about flight lessons and box cutters. About murdered flight crews and fake bombs. Of expired visas and massive miscommunications. Of selflessness and heroism; of split second decisions to go up or down; to turn right or left. Of sad, final goodbyes left on voice mail and last ‘I love yous’ uttered over an air phone.

Bin Laden had made good on his promise that when it came to his enemies, he would make no distinction between those in uniform and civilians or their nationalities. In all, just under three-thousand people died in the terrorist attacks on 9/11. That included an untold number of pregnant woman and eight children who were on the planes that hit the buildings. All were under the age of 12.

More than 90 countries lost citizens in the attacks on the World Trade Center

It should also be mentioned that one dog was killed in the collapse. Sirius was a 95-pound Yellow Lab that worked with the Port Authority Police Department as a bomb sniffing canine. In the flurry to help evacuees out of the buildings, his partner, Sgt. David Lim placed in him in his kennel in the Bomb Detail’s office in the basement of the South Tower. Lim promised he’d come back for Sirius.

And he did…

On January 22, 2002 when Sirius’ remains were found, still in his kennel. Recovery workers treated the four-year-old police dog as they would any hero of 9/11. His body was escorted out of the rubble in a flag covered stretcher.

THE RESCUE AND RECOVERY

After the towers collapsed, two 110-story buildings, were reduced to one large heap, four to five stories tall. That was it. That was all that was left of two soaring skyscrapers. Rescuers working there referred to it as “The Pile” . Their task initially was to find survivors, but it didn’t take long for them to realize that their mission would soon shift into recovery mode. Only 23 people survived the collapse of both towers. Genelle Guzman-McMillan was one of those lucky ones. The Port Authority employee who worked on the 64th floor of the North Tower, was the last person removed from the rubble. Her liberation from debris pile came on September 12th, 27 hours after the tower’s initial collapse.

In the weeks and months after the attack, workers were able to find 293 intact bodies in the debris. Only twelve could be identified by sight; the rest were body parts and in some cases, mere pieces of parts. Their job was also hampered by misidentification. Keep in mind that both towers were home to several restaurants and cafes with chicken, beef and pork items on their menus. That made bones deceiving. During the process of sifting and sorting through debris, workers had to discern the difference between a human rib….and a beef rib.

The first responders who volunteered to work “The Pile” had not only an arduous job to do, but they often did it under extremely traumatic circumstances. They had to contend with the repugnant smell of burned and decaying flesh, along with finding bodies that had been buried underneath tons of rubble and pinned down by broken steel beams above what amounted to a fiery pit, some 80 to 90 feet deep in places. If you remember, fires in the rubble continued to burn for some time after the collapse. If workers tried moving the beams, a significant shifting in position could mean dislodging the victim and losing it to the fires below. The goal was to offer families the remains of their loved ones. So they only had one other option: with the families’ consent, they cut up the bodies as needed, in order to free them. They had the morbid task of removing an arm here; a leg there…even severing a torso when they had to and because of awkward positions and limited space, the workers sometimes actually had to lay on top of the bodies in order to carry out this very grim responsibility.

Since being a New York cop or firefighter is such a multi-generational tradition in many families, it was commonplace for fathers to find the bodies of their sons; for brother to find brother…nephew to find uncle. The heartache at “The Pile” seemed unceasing in the weeks and months following the attack.

These men saw incredible carnage and had the emotional wind knocked out of them time and time again, but even so, it got to the point where workers, even the most hardened ones, were able to revel when they found even the tiniest human fragment. At Ground Zero, workers learned to celebrate the smallest of victories. They knew that meant one more family would finally get some much-needed closure.

In the end, most families were given nothing more than a container of tiny bone fragments to bury. And they were happy to have that. They knew they were lucky. All some relatives received was the packaging where their loved one’s remains had been stored.

That’s because when fragments were found and collected, they were taken to the Medical Examiners officer. There, they were examined, cleaned, and pulverized into powder to extract tell-tale genetic traces, a process that can take up to a week before an identification is made. When that happens, the remains are returned to the family. But there were times when nothing survived the DNA testing.

Of 21-thousand remains that have been recovered, nearly nine thousand remain unidentified, because of the degraded condition they were found in. More than 11-hundred victims have no identifiable remains at all. This means that for all intents and purposes, these people had been vaporized.

The discovery of body parts in and around Ground Zero continued for years. In early 2006, more human remains turned up on top of the 43-story skyscraper that was the Deutsche Bank Building, which stood about 400 feet to the south of where the South Tower stood. It had severely damaged by the collapse and was soon rendered structurally unsafe. According to the Associated Press, more than 300 human bone fragments were recovered from the roof as workers removed toxic debris as they prepped for a floor-by-floor dismantling of the building. Most of the fragments were less than 1/16th inch in length and were found in gravel raked to the sides of the roof of the building.

In October of that year, workers with Consolidated Edison (NYC’s main utility company) found human remains in two manholes near the World Trade Center.

In April, 2008, the remains for four more victims were identified using remains recovered from a road, paved to clean up Ground Zero and two years later, 72 human remains were found, following a two month-long sifting through debris from Ground Zero and underneath adjacent roads. Some of the remains were found when new debris was uncovered during construction work at the new WTC complex.

As far as the terrorists’ remains were concerned, only four of the ten hijackers involved in the WTC attack were identified through DNA provided by the FBI. Out of respect, their remains were kept separate from their victims. They weren’t sent back to their families either, despite repeated requests. From a PR standpoint, authorities dealt with the remains as they did with the body of Osama bin Laden. They refused to say what they did to them or where they were taken for fear their final resting place could become a shrine.

THE AFTERMATH

If there’s any good news concerning 9/11, it’s that there were many survivors and that was due mostly to when the attack occurred. It’s now estimated that there were just 14,000 people in the two towers at that time of day, far fewer than the 50-thousand plus that would have been there mid-morning. Had the attack and subsequent evacuations happened two hours later, it would have been a much different story.

Survivors might have walked out of the towers unscathed physically, but the mental/emotional wounds went deep.

One study asserted that 17- percent of the entire population of the country, outside New York, reported Post Traumatic Stress symptoms such as nightmares, sleeplessness, and anxiety in the days after the attack and collapse. The study went on to say that if the exposure was intense, the greater the effect of PTS. So for every non–New Yorker who suffered, almost three New Yorkers reported symptoms. And the closer that New Yorker was to the Trade Center, the more he or she felt it. It’s said that the difference could be measured from city block to city block.

Another casualty from that day was and still is, public opinion. A new survey from The Public Religion Institute and the Brookings Institution states that ten years after 9/11, US citizens are still wrestling with their opinions of Muslim. Nearly half of Americans polled admitted they’d be uncomfortable in the presence of a woman wearing a burqa, a mosque being built-in their neighborhood or seeing Muslim men praying at an airport. Forty-one percent said they’d be uncomfortable if a teacher at a school in their community were Muslim. Forty-seven percent of survey respondents said the values of Islam are in direct conflict with American values.

Is any of this surprising? Think back to ten years ago: as the both towers lay in heaps, as a badly damaged Pentagon and a huge gash in a field in Pennsylvania smoldered, it was easy to become suspicious of every Abrahamic religion and those who practiced it. The enemy was instantly recognizable: it was anyone wearing a thobe or hibaya. September 11th forced a change in the American paradigm regarding Islam. It almost instantaneously transformed an often ignored religion into one that was reviled by many.

And I will admit that in the days and weeks following 9/11, I was one of those people.

After the second tower fell, my anger reached a boiling point. I wanted to know how, I wanted to know why and I wanted God to give me an answer. I wanted Allah to offer an explanation. I needed someone to explain radical religious fanaticism to me and how it could kill, maim and destroy as a point of honor. I didn’t want Pat Robertson feeding me his narrow cast tripe. I didn’t want Deepak Chopra to give me his interpretation of Sanskrit. I didn’t want a “return to source” quote from Wayne Dyer. I didn’t want a papal explanation or a mullah trying to convince the world that in spite of the death and destruction we were all witnessing, Islam really is a religion of peace. I didn’t want to hear some rabbi quoting the Talmud in an attempt to explain why bad things happen to good people and I sure as hell didn’t want Mit Romney explaining scripture to me as it was told to Joseph Smith by a chatty salamander in 19th century Utah.

Humans can think awfully odd things when we don’t know what to think.

As skewed as this might have been at the time, I wanted to see more contrite behavior from the American Muslim community, even it that meant a few would have to apologize for the whole. While I’m sure that happened, I don’t remember that happening often enough. I needed to hear more Muslims speak out in angry condemnation of the hijackings and the radical thinking that helped orchestrate the attacks. Instead, I seem to remember hearing more anger about Islam being misunderstood and a fear of reprisals. I remember watching repeated news reports from Muslim clerics insisting that it wasn’t Islam that perpetrated 9/11. That may be, but certainly a corrupt facet of it was behind that horrible Tuesday morning and thousands of innocent men, women and children had been murdered as a result.

Right or wrong, all of this made it easy to believe that where Islam was concerned, the apple couldn’t fall far from the ideological tree. This allowed ‘blanket blame’. We’d already been conditioned to think the worst of this religion. For years, our views had been honed by countless news reports of “honor killings” condoned by clerics; the stoning of women turned into a spectator sport at soccer stadiums, when Pan Am Flight 103 blew up over Lockerbie, beheadings of perceived infidels, the murders of Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics in 1972, the bombing of the USS Cole, the Marine barracks in Beirut and the senseless slaughter of hundreds at hotels, on busses and at public markets by suicide bombers hell-bent on becoming Paradise-bound martyrs. Frankly, I didn’t understand how some Muslims, regardless of nationality, couldn’t understand this reaction, which (considering what happened that day and in the decades before) was completely endemic to basic human behavior.

For me personally, had I been a practicing Muslim on September 11, 2001, there would have been one less in the world on September 12th. I was that angry. My country had been attacked. So many of my fellow Americans had been killed in the most nightmarish ways and radical Islam or those operating under the guise of it, was the reason why. Right or wrong, fear, anger and the need to hold someone accountable for these grating emotions are a completely natural responses.

But I’m an educated woman. I’ve always known that many Muslims are good and decent people. They’re dutiful American citizens who have very successfully integrated into the culture and the Democratic way of thinking. My rational, logical side grasps this, but there’s also that small part of my psyche that’s still angry and in some ways, still terrified. September 11th is always in the back of my mind while boarding an airplane, when I enter an upper floor of a skyscraper…when I shop in a mall or attend a large sporting event. The memories and emotional wounds are healing, but they’re aggravated each and every anniversary. But it gets better all the time.

A few weeks after the attack, I read something that I still think about from time to time. I remember feeling it could be applied to the post 9/11 healing process and irony of ironies, it’s from the Quran. It’s a quote from the Surat al-Ishirah, a chapter which in English, translates to “solace” or “comfort”. Many Muslims believe it was revealed by God to Muhammad when he may have voiced doubts concerning how this new Islamic religion and its different lifestyle would be received.

God tried to ease Muhammad’s mind by telling him, “With every difficulty, there comes ease.”

TEN YEARS LATER

Life has gone on in the decade since that unthinkable morning. We’ll never forget what happened and we’ll be eternally grateful to the First Responders and the everyday heroes who rose to the occasion to help save lives…and in many cases, sacrificed their own…on September 11th. There’s still pain of course and the scars will always be visible, but we’re slowly but sure rising out of the ashes, like some mighty Phoenix. There is reconciliation. There is healing. There is renewal. And no where is that more evident than at the place where the towers once stood.

A new World Trade Center complex is being rebuilt and will eventually include a total of five skyscrapers with one specific tower as its focal point. It will be everything that two towers and the surrounding structures were, but more. It will be a testament to American resolve and resilience.

Once completed, the tower will soar 1,776 feet (an homage to the year this country signed its Declaration of Independence) into the skies above New York, some 400 feet taller than the original structures. When finished, it’ll encompass 2.6 million square feet. As it stands now, an expansive public lobby is topped by a series of mechanical floors, comprising the base level. Above this, will be sixty-nine office floors, including two television broadcast floors, mechanical floors, and two restaurants. Atop this, there will be an observation deck and a glass and metal parapet, a wall-like barrier at the edge of a roof or terrace. At the very top will be a communications platform and a 408-foot, cable-stayed antenna.

Fittingly I suppose, it will eventually be the tallest building in the US.

The new tower was built with security in mind. It has extra-wide ventilated staircases that will be pressurized to help keep smoke out. It will also includes a separate staircase for firefighters. Its enhanced sprinkler system will be protected by thick concrete and the elevators, standpipes (to which hoses are attached for firefighting purposes) and stairwells will be protected within a three-feet thick core interior wall inside the perimeter of the building. The base of the tower is reinforced and complete windowless and fortified to withstand even the strongest truck or car bomb. Visitors will face intense airport-type screening and 400 closed circuit cameras will monitor each building.

Every vehicle will be screened as well. There will be radiation detectors, biochemical filters and license plate readers located in all parking garages and eventually, at entrances to the 16 bridges and four tunnels leading in and out of Manhattan. Live feeds will be monitored around the clock by the NYPD, and a computer system will use “video analytic” computer software designed to detect potential threats like unattended bags and retrieve images based on descriptions of terror or other criminal suspects. New York City and Port Authority police will patrol the site. And all of these security features will be repeated in the construction of the four other towers.

A national 9/11 museum is now open, as are the memorial fountains, which were built inside the ‘footprints’ where the two towers once stood. Two 30-foot deep fountains called “Reflecting Absence” are powered by a very sophisticated water-control system which will pump more than one million gallons through a vast network of pipes. The names of the nearly three thousand victims, including those who died in the WTC attack in 1993, have been inscribed in bronze and placed along a walk way surrounding both pools. The surrounding plaza is filled with oak trees and a callery pear known as the Survivor Tree, which was nursed back to health after surviving the 9/11 attacks. That opened last September

The entrance to the 9/11 Memorial Museum, a large pavilion with a glass atrium, houses two enormous tridents within its glass atrium. The tridents are artifacts from the steel façade of the original 1 WTC, also known as the North Tower. The museum opens September 12, 2012. That’s this Wednesday. The tower complex is slated for a 2013 completion date while the entire complex should be open and fully operational by 2018.

THE NAME

And in many ways, that would be appropriate. This small section of lower Manhattan should be remembered this way. It’ll forever serve as a reminder of the immense human toll that was paid in the name of hate on September 11, 2001. Thousands of innocent people were killed here and that makes this location a very sacred place and one of utmost reverence.

So, build what you must on top of this space and call it what you will; it won’t matter. When it comes to these 16 acres in the heart of New York City, hallowed will always be thy name.

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More Thoughts On Osama’s Death & Its Aftermath

I’m starting to hear people bemoan the fact that Osama bin Laden was shot when unarmed; that he wasn’t captured alive and tried for all eight zillion of his crimes against humanity, thus allowing mankind to witness due process and then ultimately his death  either strapped to a gurney drifting off to that big sleep or dangling in that “tell-tell way” from some gallows near The Hague.   So, he wasn’t armed…so what? Did just under three thousand innocent souls at the World Trade Center or the Pentagon have anti-aircraft artillery at their disposal when they were killed on a balmy September Tuesday ten years ago?

If a man ever needed dyin’, he did —Singer/Songwriter Lobo, from his 1971 hit, “Indiana Wants Me”
This was justice; swift street  justice.  Short and sweet.  The ultimate (and literal)  eye for an eye.   Osama bin Laden lived by the Soviet assault rifle,  it was fitting he died by an American one.
 
What scares me is this sinking feeling I have and have had since news broke that Osama had been killed. I fear that Osama’s death will become one gigantic recruiting tool for al Qaeda. Everyone in DC knows this; hell everyone on the planet knows this. As I see it, killing Osama in retaliation for 9/11 and a host of other bloody terrorist attacks is as much psychological as it is anything else. For Americans, anyway. But outside our borders? Well, I don’t foresee this show of intel, fire power and precision marksmanship doing much to restore our global reputation. In fact, I fear it’s already accomplishing the contrary. Osama’s death is incendiary and will be on many levels for some time to come in the extremist’s world.  In  ordering Osama’s death, I fear this decision will place more innocent people in the crosshairs of every radical, West loathing Muslim extremist on the planet.    And really,  will this help Obama politically?
 
Ask Bush to regale you with his memories of bombing Bagdad on his own accord and then ask him about approval points domestic and globally after that. I fear we have cut ourselves off at the knees even further in the Arab world and that fear, grows larger everyday. Sure, there are sleeper cells in this country and Obama with his ridiculous open border policy has in effect, continues to welcome them with open arms. But my biggest concern are those homegrown sympathizers who can figure out how to rig a nail and shrapnel-filled backpack to explode via a timer or remote control in a crowded mall….on a busy subway platform….at a packed NBA playoff game this summer.
 
Many folks on both sides of the political fence are thinking this will do nothing but elevate the President in the eyes of his fellow Americans–something he’s desperately needed. Let’s take a look at this, shall we??? The Osama body dump means and Obama ratings bump. We’re talking something like 13 points and an average presidential bump lasts about an average of 22 weeks.  The experts say the Osama lead Obama bump will probably run through next year BUT ONLY if the economy improves, offering a one/two punch of good presidential tidings. I can’t blame Obama for using this as I know he will; as his sword of Oval Office righteousness…even as a means to convince the Right that he’s a no-nonsense, stick to his work kind of guy who just happened to accomplish in three years in office what George W. Bush couldn’t in eight.
 
Some question the timing in all of this.  In all honesty, I don’t. I suppose it was all a matter of having to act NOW. Obama probably had one rock solid opportunity to get this man and he needed to execute the plans based on that intel, which as we all know, is fleeting and often flawed. But right or wrong, that opportunity was Sunday, May 1st and it was a risky chance Obama took. I’ll give him that much because come on…let’s face it: Osama was an elusive little bugger.  He also made a gutsy call to shoot as opposed to bomb.   Kudos for his choice of precision, but as for making this out to be ALL about politics and more specifically timing? Frankly, I don’t see how timing comes into play, especially since Obama would have been much better served had the Navy Seals delivered a stiff, room temperature Osama bin Laden, a little bit closer to the first Tuesday in November of 2012.
 
So, there you go.   Political ploys and political highs never last.   Bush 41 had it,  enjoyed it….then lost it.  Clinton had it….and lost it as did Bush 43 in the weeks and months following 9/11.   The reality is,  we’re too devoted to our political affiliations; to the point we’re unwavering and we’re  too critical of our presidents to allow them to rest on their laurels for any length of time.
 
But really, it’s more than that.  You see, Osama bin Laden’s death is big now; but what will its magnitude be in about 17 months from now?  Sure, what happened on September 11th will never leave our collective consciousness, nor should it, but I assure you, unless you lost a friend or family member in the terror attacks or in the military lead firefights that followed it,  9/11 won’t be  in the forefront of our daily thoughts.  The man who’s been out of work for 23 months  isn’t going to care much about bin Laden’s death or who ordered it. He only cares about feeding his family.   The educated single mother of three in Cleveland, a prime example of the country’s working poor, doesn’t qualify for federal assistance, because as broke as she is, still makes too much. She won’t care one iota whether bin Laden is dead or alive,  nor will the family of a cancer patient in Tacoma who had to wait way too long for what amounts to socialized medicine to kick in to get chemo. His malignancies killed him before that ever happened. 
 
“It’s the economy stupid.”
 
And yes, it is.  
 
In the grand scheme of things, presidential bumps don’t matter and they never have when the American people are struggling.   And we are. People often vote with their pocketbooks, which these days are empty.   The economy is horrible and Obama promised to fix it and he hasn’t and he won’t–and no, not even this magical, mystical dark skin Jinn can, not with all that AND the GOP’s “Deficit Reduction” (economic growth inhibiting) strategy nipping at his heals.  In Obama’s defense,  I don’ think anyone can repair much of anything at all.  I hate feeling this jaded, but that’s where I am.
 
In closing, the reality is Bin Laden is dead,  which truly is great and all, but can this euphoria last long enough “to matter” politically?
 
By November 2012, I doubt seriously if anyone will give a damn.
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Osama Been Laid To Rest

He’s dead. 

Like any normal, sentient human being, I revel in Osama bin Laden’s demise and frankly, I’m glad it happened with a US military regulation bullet in his head.  It took just about ten long years but true to his word, Bush said we’d track these bastards down and make them pay.    And with every arrest of key al Qaeda  personnel, we got closer to the big Kahuna, who was living behind a fortress of sorts…a very heavily fortified mansion in Pakistan.  

It was handled with surgical precision, from what we hear.    Blackhawk helicopters carried roughly two dozen troops from Navy SEAL Team Six, a top military counter-terrorism unit, into bin Laden’s compound slash hideout.    It’s my understanding the attack lasted less than 40 minutes. Bin Laden was shot in the head but after firing back.    As did his bodyguards. .

When the smoke had cleared, three men were also killed in the raid, including one of bin Laden’s sons, whose name has so far, been withheld.    We know that at least one of his sons, and remember, he has a whole assload of progeny– is a senior member of al-Qaeda .   We’ve also learned that one woman was killed when she was used as a shield by a male combatant.  Can you belive that?    These people are animals…no regard for human life, and women and Americans are the lowest rung on their ladder of respect.    Two other women were injured.      

I’ve been trying to learn if any of his surviving henchmen and bodyguards who survived the onslaught were arrested, which to be honest, I doubt if ‘custody’ was ever a consideration.  I’m no military strategist…hell, I’ve never even played “Battleship” or “Stratego”, but I would think it made more sense across the board to kill bin Laden.   I mean think about it–a trial would have been a HUGE cost.   And where would they have it?   He’s killed people all over the globe.   And think of the security that would have incurred???   Not to mention retaliatory al Qaeda attacks or attempts to rescue him, which would have been sheer folly in America, but we’re not dealing with logical men here, are we?

Still, that’s my concern:  retaliation.  While I was happy to learn bin Laden had been killed, the joy was soon replaced by the realization that this means we’ve poked a stick at the hive.  I get the feeling that anyone who shares the same radical belief, whether they’re  a member of the Taliban, al Qaeda or just some sympathizer with an explosive shoe fetish like Richard Reid, there will be revenge.   The question though hovers around al Qaeda’s coffers.   How full are they?  And with Daddy al Warbucks dead and gone, where will money come from in the future?   Good revenge,  the kind that makes an a real impact statement, ain’t cheap and  I do belive the US lead the way in freezing as much of bin Laden’s income as possible after 9/11, but who knows how much he had squirreled away.

I don’t know.  It’s a heavy feeling I have.   I think we need to be as vigilant as ever before.  I just can’t see these guys standing down and thinking in the most aw shucks sort of way,”Damn, they found him! Now what????”  

They believe in that eye for an eye stuff. 

And I guess in a way, so do we. I mean, we got him, didn’t we?  

A few days after 9/11 occurred , President Bush came to Ground Zero and stood  atop the pile with a bullhorn, a beleaguered NYC fireman under his arm, he began to address the rescue workers.

Rescue Worker: I can’t hear you!

President Bush: I can hear you! I can hear you! The rest of the world hears you! And the people — and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon!

I remember how profound I felt that statement was. 

And still is.

I remember thinking in order to “get the people who did this” to hear us effectively was going to take drastic measures.   None of this imposing economic sanctions crap.   No refusing to participating in Olympics in some lame attempt to prove a point.  No, nothing like that.  This was going to require bloodshed.   

I immediately thought of Sean Connery’s line (as Officer Mallone) to Elliot Ness (Kevin Costner) in the movie, “The Untouchables”.

Malone: You said you wanted to get Capone. Do you really wanna get him? You see what I’m saying is, what are you prepared to do?
Ness: Anything and everything in my power.
Malone: And *then* what are you prepared to do? If you open the can on these worms you must be prepared to go all the way because they’re not gonna give up the fight until one of you is dead.
Ness: How do you do it then?
Malone: You wanna know how you do it? Here’s how, they pull a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue.

That’s the Chicago way.

And now, I’d like to believe that’s the American Way, from this point on.

Osama bin Laden’s body was taken aboard a unamed US Navy vessel and buried at sea, in strict accordance to Islamic Law, within 24 hours of death.   A maritime burial seems fitting.   This way, his body can’t be exhumed and publicly martyred on some ghoulish fashion; his gravesite can’t be turned into some memorial or a shrine to Jihad.  

No, he’s fish food now.   It’s the end of the road for this brazen mass murderer,  but sadly, tragically, hardly the end of terrorism, the savage institution he lived and died for.     

That said, I feel strongtly that we, as a country, can rejoice in bin Laden’s death, but in moderation.  Because of the imminence of reprisals, I fear that we can rest on our laurels ONLY long enough for the time it takes …to lock and load.    md

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More Toys For Christmas

Even the tiniest terrorist needs to play.

Because playing is so important in the developmental stages of an up and coming shahid. Besides, it’s up to mom and dad to take over the total mental and emotional indoctrination of jihad where the Madrassa stops.

That’s why Afghani toy maker, Militant Bradley has created fun, educational toys, guaranteed to keep little Mohamed or Shakira hating Zionists for eternity.

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BUT WAIT!!!!! There’s more.

Make declaring jihad a family affair!!!!

Teens and tweens make great suicide bombers for the cause.

Help brain wash your acne-riddled Shahid-in-training with this fantastic InfiDELL computer.

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It comes complete with an anti-semitic hard drive and no absolutely no memory of Lockerbie, the Marine barracks in Beirut or the 1972 Munich Olympics.

And as a bonus—-each keyboard has had the letters “J, E, W and S” removed for your  convenience.

And what about the little ones??

From the Martyr Stewart collection…..

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And let’s not leave fluffy, little “Falafel” out of the fun!!

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Each costume comes with a map of several Israeli outdoor markets, Tel Aviv bus routes and various U.S. embassies around the world.

ORDER NOW!!!! ORDER NOW!!!

CALL 1-800-FATWAH…ask for Operator C-4

Visa, MasterCard and Death To All Things American Express accepted.

Merchandise guaranteed to arrive before Hadj, Ramadan or one of several pesky Jewish High Holy days!!

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You Can NEVER Be Too Prepared

What should you do in case of a natural emergency or terrorist attack?

Well, if you have any interest in surviving, we strongly encourage you not to read this blog post.

Someone else actually did this first. But we lost the original satirical link, otherwise we’d give the author credit…honest!  However, we can’t find it, but we promise it is the basis of this post. And it was funny, too! But as it happens, the ego-riddled, award-winning maestros d’hoot at Laurie Industries thought they/we could make it much sillier and far funnier.

And damned if we didn’t.

So, take a gander at these HILARIOUS, nonsensical artist renderings which were actually used as illustrations in an official website www.ready.gov, (circa 2003). The focus was on “informative” ways Americans could survive terrorist attacks and natural disasters.

1. At the height of an emergency, you must blow your “Help!! I’m either being attacked by terrorists OR in some sort of natural emergency” whistle. If you’re without a whistle, make sure bald, character actor Michael Berryman is nearby to yell really loudly.

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Make sure any and all sound waves emitted are orange in color. If not, don’t bother.

You’re probably going to die anyway.

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EDITOR’S NOTE:

This is Michael Berryman.

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The LA born actor suffers from Hypohidrotic Ectodermal Dysplasia, which is a rare condition leaving him with no sweat glands, hair, fingernails or teeth. No teeth? Really? He always plays assorted pudding-eating mutants and toothless malcontents. You might have seen him as “Pluto” in Wes Craven’s 1977 horror film, “The Hills Have Eyes”.

Study his face. Learn to love it. Chances are if you survive a nuclear attack, you’ll end up looking a lot like him.

Or marrying him.

Oh and as for the doll Michael B. is clutching? Well, I have no idea why it has two oddly anemic colored, juvenile penises protruding from it’s head in this horn-like presentation. But in a post apocalyptic setting, it really isn’t nice to stare.

You know….feelings.

2. Keep a narrow beam, greenish incandescent flashlight with you at all times. We think this will help, especially if you’re trapped under a collapsed Stonehenge.

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3. If jagged parts of the ceiling, along with strange, red arrows are falling down on top of you, the ONLY thing you can do is to hide under a desk or table, curl up into a ball and fellate yourself.

If you survive, you should at the very least, offer to take yourself to dinner after wards.

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4. If your crotch has been targeted by an over-sized aerosol spray container–and the substance is orange and considered toxic– it’s vital to assume a thoughtful stance a la TV’s Hugh Beaumont—an absolute vision in shades of bluish/gray–and ponder it for a while.

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5. Abandon all contemporary radios and keep ONLY old school Boom Boxes in your home or office. Listen for official instructions….or some fresh jams.

Regardless of the information being disseminated, we suggest you either curl up in a ball and fellate yourself yet again…..OR deny anything horrific is happening by pretending it’s 1991. Put in an MC Hammer CD and rehearse your “Running Man” dance moves in front of a big, red arrow.

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6. If you’ve been exposed to Anthrax, Smallpax or any assorted and sundry plague, douse your hand under a floating faucet which emits the same fake blue tinged water you see in amusement park fountains, while coaxing what’s left of an extremity of your absorbed Chimera twin growing out of your palm, to assist you in a good “scrubbin’.

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7. As we’re learning from our “Left O’Center” radical friends at Berkley, pink is the new color of global terrorism. Therefore, if you see any terrorist with severe conjunctivitis, encourage him to be nicer to Jews, try pork rinds just once and wash his filthy, blood-stained hands in generous portions of Pepto Bismal. We don’t know why, but we assume his hand diarrhea should clear up…like that!

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8. If a mandatory evacuation has been ordered, attempt to do so ONLY in small, turquoise colored Ford station wagons with a utility poll protruding from the hood.

DO NOT drive if a wire is loose and hanging down or if there are small, orange lightning bolts in your general direction. That could be dangerous.

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9. If you find that you’re the victim of a “dirty bomb” attack, chances are you’ve been exposed to copious amounts of dangerous radiation. Study the example in the image below: if your hand is deforming right before your very eyes and a fourth index finger is now growing from your palm, you must become very embarrassed and consider yourself a social outcast. Do this before anyone else does. You’ll be shunned anyway, so cower and turn away from people and light sources.

And by all means, stay the hell away from windows. No one wants to see that shit!

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10. Exposure to vast amounts of radiation could also result in gigantism. If that happens, it is conceivable, that you could grow quite suddenly— 32 feet and higher in a matter of hours.

If you start start Manut Bol-ing,  wqe suggest as  soon as the “all clear” has been sounded, run–don’t walk to your nearest Blockbuster–duck inside (literally) and rent, “Attack of the 50-Foot Man” for new lifestyle tips.

Clothing will definitely be an issue as a result of your new height. Because your junk alone will be the size of a two story building (and…uh, congrats on that, by the way), you’ll need to wear a parachute for a loin cloth.

Urinate ONLY in Lake Superior.

Use Oklahoma as a litter box.

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11. In a civil emergency, what does a hurricane, a bio-hazard symbol, one bird carcass and three dying trout have in common???

We have no idea.

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12. And finally, for absolutely no reason in the world, keep a bad drawing of a can of generic orange drink and an apple with you at all times.

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Well, there you go.  You are now completely unfit to survive a windy Saturday afternoon, much less a national disaster of any kind.

I wish you good luck and God speed.

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