Monday, March 16, 2009

Do I enjoy abusing myself?

WARNING! This post reaches a point where the greatest horror of my entire life is experienced. It is graphic, so those not able to handle such a reality should not read this one.

Have you ever found yourself doing something stupid, known you're doing something stupid, and yet you continue to go on doing the same stupid thing? Well, That's what I did last night.

It started with a bit of reading about some conspiracy nonsense involving one of Obama's cabinet appointments. This one person had apparently gone to a meeting of the Bilderbergers, (which I'd always thought was a special at TGI Fridays). The conspiracy theorists are all over this Bilderberger group, claiming that their intent is to subvert Western government and turn us all into obedient drones. You know these kinds of people. They call the average folk "sheeple," and believe they have some kind of special knowledge the rest of us don't.

My mind immediately thought of 9 September 2001, and all the conspiracies that claim our government was behind the destruction of the World Trade Center. "Buildings don't fall like that unless explosives are set!" "What about the destruction of Building 7? That was obviously a demolition!" On that latter point, the have various videos that show a line of windows blowing out in what appears to be a precise sequence.

I have news for the conspiracy folk...While there are certainly questions about how the entire disaster was handle in such a botched manner, city engineers tend to design skyscrapers with the intent that if they ever came down, they wouldn't topple over. Why? Because if they did, cities like Manhattan would become the biggest set of falling dominoes ever seen. Thus, part of the structure of skyscrapers involves the floor becoming part of the building's support. If the floors go, the walls collapse inward, and the building comes straight down.

Or as straight down as possible. When the towers collapsed, there was a bit of tilting in the fall. Watch enough videos, and you can see it happening.

I may be living in Arizona now, but I was on Long Island during the attack. Disabled or not, a part of me wanted to rush to the city and help. There had to be something I could do. As the days passed, and the search for survivors and victims continued, I wanted to be one of the volunteers handing out water to the real heroes of the disaster: the police and firemen on site. But I didn't have so much as a dime to spare for a train ticket.

Meanwhile, last night, after looking over some of the silliness at a conspiracy theory site, I was drawn to YouTube to watch some of the equally silly videos about the grand conspiracy behind Building 7. As I did so, I stumbled upon what was apparently a documentary aired on CBS. I was stunned by the footage I saw, and it was all captured by accident.

Jules and Gedeon Naudet, two brothers working on a documentary about a rookie firefighter going through his probation period at a firehouse, happen to catch one of the two known pieces of footage that shows the first plane hitting the towers.

I suddenly found myself drawn to the entire documentary. I didn't WANT to watch it...I HAD to watch it. I had to see what these two Frenchmen captured on film. I had to know what had really happened. Perhaps, in some way, the conspiracy theorists had gotten to me, at least piquing my curiosity...

...and I was exposed to the most terrifying pieces of film in my entire life. It was not what was shown; it was what was heard! The sound of bodies making impact at ground level. On the news that day, there was film of tiny figures falling along side the buildings, and your mind doesn't connect with reality. Some part of you wants to deny that it could possibly be a human being. No, you think, it must be some debris that's falling. A person trapped up there would search for some way to escape; not leap out of a shattered window. But you know the truth, despite that inner denial. Then it's confirmed by someone who was in the lobby at the time. One of the firefighters on scene recalls later, "I just remember looking up, thinking, 'How bad is it up there that the better option is to jump.'" And when you hear the impacts on film, you see all of the firemen in the lobby just stop and stare out of the shattered windows in stunned silence.

I don't know how they did it. I really don't. There they are, walking into the tallest buildings on the island of Manhattan, knowing that a plane has crashed into it, and these men went in with what they thought was the simple purpose of putting out a fire and rescuing people. They knew the elevators were out, so they were resigned to the fact that they would have to run up 80 flights of stairs to get to where they needed to be. What's more, they were in the lobby of WTC 1 when the second plane hit the other tower, and they divided their efforts to do the same thing next door! They're not thinking about the heroism it takes to do what they're doing. What's on their collective minds is, This is my job, and I'm going to do it.

When the first tower came down, (which was the second one hit), the documentarian was still in the lobby of the first building. At that point, his camera did more than capture history; the flood light attached was used to help illuminate the area to help the firefighters work.

Shortly after watching the impact of that first plane, I was pulled away from watching when I realized my heart was like a trip-hammer. I could heart it beating loudly in my ears. The trauma of that day was all coming back, and if I didn't do something about it medically, I imagined my heart exploding from the agony of reliving that day.

I've made other posts about this. I was on the far eastern half of Long Island when it happened, but one could easily imagine being in the city and hearing the explosions, and feeling the air shake from the impact. Now I have the added experience of the screams of horror...of the bodies crashing to the ground...footage taken while inside the WTC lobby.

I don't feel it necessary for anyone else to feel what I feel, yet some of you may be wondering about this documentary. Put plainly, if you cannot handle it, don't watch it. The person who put the documentary on YouTube is "logprof". The 22 videos he has set up for this program starts here:

The memory of the fallen from that day should not be diminished by the foolishness of conspiracy theorists. This is not an event in our history that should be sensationalized. But it should never be forgotten, and this documentary is a heartfelt reminder of the worst day in our lives.

As for the title of this post...Well, I knew what I was getting into when I started watching the documentary. I knew I should have watched any of it. Believe me, I have more than enough memories of that day. Now I have new memories to add to the trauma, and what keeps crossing my mind is, Do you like feeling this terrible?

Please, my faithful readers...Be as well as you can be.

(This post went through no other editing than a spellcheck. I ask that you forgive any errors you may see.)

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