ESSAY- Unthinkable? Who really destroyed the towers?
Maybe we all need counseling.
When my family sits around the dinner table, as we did a few weeks ago at my birthday party, we talk about nearly anything: current events, scientific breakthroughs, and even about, um, you know, s-e-x.
We were having a swell time that day, and then I had to go and introduce a brand-new topic.
"I want to know what really happened on September 11. I've found some Internet sites about it that are just riveting."
Everyone stopped what they were doing– forks full of birthday cake poised in mid-air as they cast sideways glances at one another, wondering when I would stop.
I stammered a little and said, "You know, how the World Trade Center buildings collapsed the way buildings do when it's a planned demolition, into their own footprint."
Nobody said anything.
I continued, "Even building seven, which wasn't hit by a plane, collapsed like old buildings you see on the news, in Las Vegas or wherever, ones they're bringing down on purpose."
That's when the sighing and eye-rolling began. You would think I was talking about something intimate and embarrassing, something too tender for examination. Genital warts, perhaps.
"Mum," my son said, "they have names for people who talk like that: tin hat people, moonbats, wingnuts. You get lumped in with people who think the federal government is hiding information about space aliens."
"What are you saying, then? That nobody can talk about it?"
He said, "The conspiracy theories were all debunked in Popular Mechanics a few months ago. They went into a lot of detail."
"Then what caused the buildings to collapse like that? It looked just like a planned demolition, with planted explosives."
"It was the fires, the burning jet fuel that melted the steel, so the buildings collapsed."
Not having looked too deeply into the subject at the time, I had no response. What bugged me then, and bugs me still, is the prohibition against talking about it. Judging by what I've since found online, a lot of people are furiously typing about it, posting messages on discussion boards and putting up websites questioning the official government explanation.
But I never hear conversations about it, and very seldom do I see the topic discussed on TV. And, come to think of it, I listen to progressive radio shows on WVAX, and they never broach this subject.
A huge cultural phenomenon is seething just below the surface: lots of Americans are growing ever more suspicious that what we were told, in whole or in part, may be a lie. I'm not the only one who wonders how building seven– which was neither hit by a plane nor doused with jet fuel– was subject to the uniform, swift, and total collapse of a planned demolition.
What we have on our hands may literally be an unspeakable crime, the worst in the history of our country: evidence that may be construed as pointing toward the attacks of September 11, 2001 being an "inside job," i.e., one perpetrated by individuals in our own government.
I know, I know– you're cringing for me, aren't you? Thinking that ol' Janis has stepped right over the edge.
But consider this: I have lots of company in my quest for answers. According to a May 2006, Zogby poll, 42 percent of American adults polled think that our government and the 9/11 Commission "concealed or refused to investigate critical evidence that contradicts the official explanation of the attacks." And 45 percent think a new investigation is called for.
So, people, why can't we talk about this?
If it's true, if it was an "inside job," then I can tell you that I have no idea how to wrap my mind around that particular conclusion. I would have to re-think everything I know about this country and my place in it.
Such a scenario seems about as plausible as the events in a movie I saw when I was a kid, Invaders from Mars. Aliens take over the bodies of a boy's parents, and he can't understand why the people who are supposed to protect him no longer care whether he lives or dies. This movie scared the hell out of me.
Our confidence in this administration is collapsing– in free-fall, like those buildings in the World Trade Center– and re-thinking everything that has happened seems like the responsible thing to do if we hope to pass a democracy along to our children and grandchildren.
A large chunk of the American public has unanswered questions about the attacks of September 11, 2001. The sooner we can talk openly about those concerns– around the dinner table and around the country– and have our questions answered regarding exactly what happened that day, the sooner we can return to some degree of trust in the people who have sworn to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States.