Felony stupidity. National Outrage. International Incident. Terrorizing Act.
Yes, national embarrassment.
The United States, in particular New York City, has not recovered from 9/11 in any way shape or form; in fact, it's obvious most haven't even dealt with it. In fact, it would appear that Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda, as assisted by the Bush administration, have kept Americans in a constant state of panic and terror thus winning.
When I saw the tape of people running for their lives in to the streets in NYC as a Presidential plane buzzed the city escorted by a fighter plane I felt so bad for them. I felt sorry and embarrassed by them. I knew immediately our enemies would take the tape of American's shrieking and running like scared mice and use it as a proof of success...look what we've done eight years later.
And as the outrage began, and Obama became "furious" so did I. But not at the White House staff member who arranged this, even though calls for his resignation began immediately. Fran Townsend, former White House homeland-security adviser, on CNN stated, "I would call this felony stupidity. This is probably not the right job for Mr. Caldera to be in if he didn't understand the likely reaction of the New Yorkers and the mayor. And while the White House have said they are furious, I think they have to look at whether or not this is the right job for Mr. Caldera."
Funny I never heard Townsend call for George Tenet's head as he allegedly gave us bad information that led us in to war. Guess a plane fly over is more traumatizing.
No, I became furious at all of those coddling these people and not dealing with the real problem; buying in to their irrational and unhelpful psychosis and paranoia.
Yes, 9/11 was horrible. But New Yorkers don't have the market cornered on its lasting effects. New York wasn't attacked, America was. New Yorkers weren't attacked, Americans were. New Yorkers didn't die, Americans did. I'm American, I cried like everyone when it happened and for years later. And I felt the anger, and yes, the fear.
After 9/11 George W. Bush and his band of war criminals then used fear of everything, including each other, to win elections and get what he and his cabal wanted from untold billions for illegal occupations to illegal wiretapping and justification for torture. The national threat level and "terror" alerts were raised whenever it suited their causes and everyone was against us.
They hate us for our freedom. They were the axis of evil. They were evil-doers. We had to go from a defensive nation to a preemptive one because the bad guys were out there to get us at every turn. The terrorists never slept. There will be another attack inside the United States, not a matter of if, but when. We must tap people without warrants because terrorists are making calls to and from our neighbors.
And of course, fear anyone different than yourself. Amend away, in the U.S. Constitution the right of other taxpaying Americans to have equal protection under the law in contract law such as marriage. Fear those coming to this country illegally, they are here for your jobs, your healthcare and your education system, to overtax and destroy it. Fear women that want to make medical decisions about their bodies or their pregnancies. And fear anyone whose God is not named Jesus. Trust no one, except us, the Bushies said for eight years. Only we can keep you safe. Only we know the real dangers out there and will protect you from them. Give us what we need or want and we'll keep you safe.
But they didn't. It's obvious America doesn't feel safe. Look at the footage of people running from a Presidential plane in NYC. Just try to get through an airport in under an hour. As the billions of dollars flood the Department of Homeland Security, it's obvious we don't feel they can protect us from something like another attack from the skies.
NYC flinched and now everyone's mad. They flinched. If this was a worse case scenario, New Yorkers ran and fled in the face of danger; One plane, trailed by a fighter, thousands panicking; A national shame that makes me think the felony stupidity is not the person that scheduled the fly by but the people that assume every single thing out of place means terror and harm and should be dealt with by panicking out of fear.
I reflect on a recent airplane that blew up on the runway and all of the people got off, not yelling, walking in an orderly fashion. No panic. Fiery death at their door, real, not perceived, and they file off without a scream.
I think of our founding fathers and early Americans. The British came at them with huge warships as they were in rowboats, they stood their ground as well as when armed men on horseback in full uniform attacked them as they stood in fields with no shoes or barely any weapons, but held fast or charged the enemy nonetheless. I think of revolutionary soldiers that marched in to battle with a bayonet slashing against fiery cannon balls outgunned and out-manned, but charging nonetheless. They were proud. They had a country and a cause for which to fight and die. They were Americans.
I think of the Iraqis. Today, April 29, 2009, there were six simultaneous car blasts in Baghdad killing over 50 people in one day. 50 Iraqis dead. And yet others get up each and every day to try and have a life in their country, and have for years, where death was (and is) a very real option every day.
I think of those that flood the train station in Madrid each day where bombs killed so many, or the tubes of London, and think how those people every day look around and never know if the man in the back pack next to them is going to detonate. When a bag is found unattended they don't shut down the city and run in panic. They assess the danger and deal.
I think of those each day that show up in cafes in Israel or what should be Palestine to meet friends, people who don't run screaming every time someone in a jacket or vest walks in that could be hiding explosives strapped to their bodies.
I think of African Americans who throughout our history and even today walk in to rooms or situations where they know there is real, palpable danger, move in to neighborhoods or simply drive their cars, knowing there is very real danger to and for them. I think of gays and lesbians that face people or situations every day where danger of losing life or liberty is very, very real. And yet when a new danger pops up, they don't run, they challenge, when danger appears they react, fight or flight, but don't panic. Each of these people, situations, each knows that panic is not an option if survival and ultimately progressing is the goal.
The fact is most in the rest of the world deal with very real threats each and every day with more grace, more courage and more intestinal fortitude than many showed April 27, 2009 in NYC.
I'm not suggesting it wasn't cause for alarm; a large plane flying in a no fly zone trailed by a fighter jet, well, what's wrong with that picture? A lot, for sure. But when people saw it was Air Force One and that there was already a fighter plane on it, well, monitor it, make a call, and yes, if you see it heading for a building, get out. I, myself, would have been worried that the President was on it and was in danger. I may have gone towards the plane, not away, in case of trouble. Our President could have needed help for all we know.
And as for the outrage over the public not being told, think about that for a moment. Air Force One is a shining symbol of our country. The Presidential plane has always had a special place in our national history, it's the aerial White House. Pomp and Circumstance is needed for national pride. The photos of it sailing past our national landmarks do a lot for morale in our nation and throughout the world (although there is Photoshop now so with a little help from Adobe I could put that plane in front of any city or monument without the fuel cost to do it).
And that makes Air Force One (I know it's only called that when a President is on it, but really now) a target. If you are going to fly a plane that is a target, that would look great crashing in to the Hudson on a terrorist resumé, and your are going to fly that within shooting distance of small arms like shoulder rockets, grenades, etc,, things easily available in New York City would it be wise to tell everyone and give those that would use this event as a way to make a statement an early warning? Did anyone ever think about the security of the crew of Air Force One?
It's A TARGET for goodness' sake. Don't paint a bull's eye on it and then parade it around through a shooting range which is what a 48 hour warning or media blitz would have done.
As for gauging the reaction of New Yorker's who could have known they were still so traumatized and fearful, still living in so much terror? Who knew that at the first sign of something like one plane in the sky they'd turn in to people in an old horror movie screaming and running from Godzilla arms in the air, voices screeching?
Remember Aqua Teen Hunger force and Boston? A street PR team put up little neon signs of the characters of an Adult Swim cartoon that was becoming a movie. A bus driver saw an electronic device under a bridge, and BOOM! The city was basically shut down with panic. It was another signal the terrorist and George W. Bush had, in fact, won in keeping the nation afraid, and now, NYC a few years later shows there's been little to no recovery.
Of course many of those running in the streets of New York may have had mask on to protect us from the latest thing the powers that be want us to fear, Swine Flu. 13,000 people have died from the regular flu since January, but one death in the U.S. so far and everyone is reacting as if it were the new AIDS. Oh, wait, they didn't really respond to AIDS that quickly, another virus, because it was only being spread amongst gay men and Africans at the time. Who cared about them. Swine Flu is affecting good everyday white people now, so we should be afraid.
Say it with me, Poppycock.
It's time Americans start acting like our rhetoric. Never again, we won't be terrorized, we can't let them win, we're more prepared than ever before, on and on. Or it's time we start realizing that we were never able to get over and then deal with 9/11 because the Bush administration kept the wound open and used it against us for eight years.
We spend billions on security and yet don't feel safe. A small virus or one plane can dump us in to disarray and panic. We're more apt to die in a car crash than terrorist event but travel often. We're more apt to die of a heart attack from our lifestyle than swine flu but eat burgers every day. And we run when one plane appears low on the horizon and then get mad at others instead of ourselves for our reaction.
It's time Americans, including New Yorkers, remember that bravery, courage, dignity are not just words. Alarm, even fear, is fine, but panic and terror over neon signs under bridges or the President's plane and a fighter jet plays right in to the hands of those that want us afraid.
Bin Laden got us once, and Bush got us for eight years. It's time to make sure the effects of that are properly dealt with so Americans, New Yorker's included, can face any fear with the confidence that as American's we're going to be doing something about it. That as American's we don't turn and run in panic, but get to safety, assess and then react out of a place of defiance and power, not out of panic and disarray.
I hope each person that ran in panic gets the emotional support and help they need to help gauge their reactions to unexpected events in the future. And I hope America now realizes that screaming the sky is falling every time there's a rogue plane or stray neon sign makes us look like pampered Americans relying upon someone or something else to keep us safe and take away our fear.
As I saw them running I thought of Roosevelt's famous line about nothing to fear but fear itself.
Stop being afraid and start being American again.
To hear two hours of The Karel Show on this subject, Go Here.