1. Where were you on September 11, 2001, when you first heard of the terrorist attack on the WTC?
First of all, this is a fantastic idea for a thread. Fantastic.
September 11, 2001, was a Tuesday, and I was sleeping in that morning, after having worked yet another brutal preceeding night of hand-to-hand combat with the selfish public.
I was living at my mom's at the time, and she woke me up later in the morning, with the statement, "There's trouble in the world." When she proceeded to relate that the towers had collapsed, I felt that slight glaze of shock strobe once completely around the outer sphere of my brain. It wasn't that I disbelieved her, it was just like, "Jesus in the hell Christ why can't I get some sleep before the sorry fucking human race goes running wild with the most beyond-imagination bullshit possible?"
2. What were your first thoughts?
My very first thought was I wondered would this lead to WWIII and would civilization be vaporized in an orange-red nuclear fireball the size of a planet later that afternoon? In the next split second I asked out loud, "Do they know who did it?" Then I flipped on the tube . . .
And I swear to God this is true. I turned on the television, and the very first words as the picture faded in was the announcer's voice saying, "This is not a movie." Then no sound at all as the video from the backside of the south tower played in slow motion: the plane was visible, then it disappeared behind the south tower for a moment, then a fireball expanding out of the opposite corner of the building. Then the announcer started speaking again.
I hadn't dropped a blank tape into the VCR yet, so that moment is lost -- but I must say that the first thing I thought of when I watched that silent video was the hypothetical collapse of Los Angeles in an earthquake, in John Carpenter's Escape From L.A.
, and the subsequent rise of a police state in the United States, driven by a President who declared himself dictator.
(While Escape From L.A.
is terrible, the original John Carpenter movie it was inspired by, Escape From New York,
is still a classic, and oddly enough is quite reminiscent of 9/11.)
3. Who was with you, or who was the first person you shared the news with?
Well, that came up already. I watched television for a couple hours, then I couldn't stand it. So I took a shower and drove away to a nearby park with a ski slope made out of green grass. I hiked the trails through the woods to get to that slope, crossing paths with one family along the way who evidently had the same idea. Somehow, me and that family were on the exact emotional wavelength, and we smiled and said hello in the same emotional tone of pure, sincere friendliness and respect as we passed each other. It was a husband and wife and one or two little kids. I don't know how to explain that moment any better than that; I've never experienced anything like it before or since.
So I made it to the grass ski slope and sat down and considered the vista of blue sky before me. Not a plane in the sky. And as I sat there wondering if mushroom clouds would at some point begin to populate the planeless sky, I was furious that I couldn't somehow be at the fulcrum of polticial decision-making and bring things under control -- or that if I had been involved since the beginning, maybe this would have never happened. I believed in those moments that 9/11 was payback for the first Gulf War (the only Gulf War at the time), and that the racist elites of the United States had it coming to them. And that it was wrong for so many innocent people to have been buried alive in the process. Feeling helpless and utterly marginalized in those moments was enfuriating, so sitting in the park and divorcing myself from the media frenzy seemed like the best thing to do.
I was there for an hour or two. Then caught some radio news as I cruised around for a while. On CBS news, I'll never forget the report of the one female reporter who was running for her life as -- I believe WTC 7 -- collapsed. In her words it was clear that she had believed she was going to die in those moments, and how all she could feel when she collapsed face down on the ground was the fireman who had thrown himself on top of her, like a blanket, to save her -- she remembered the feeling of him being pressed on her so tight she could feel his heart beating through her back and into her chest.
4. What thought, poem, verse, or song brought you comfort in the immediate moments after the attacks?
I can honestly say that not a single quote, verse, or song brought me any comfort on that day. The best thing for me was going the opposite way; cutting loose of the world and immersing myself in the quiet of the planet, trying to hear what the Earth itself might have to tell me. No healing in the madness of humans.
5. How has your perspective as an American changed since September 11?
Oh my God . . . my perspective has changed in that it has become everchanging. I already was a student of Fletcher Prouty and JFK at the time of 9/11, so I knew the background of how the world works. It wasn't until a couple years after . . . that Jim Marrs's book came out -- the first version, not Inside Job
, but The War on Freedom
(same title as Ahmed's first book). At first blush, I thought assigning an inner plot to 9/11 might be a bit much, but I was intimately familiar with Marrs' work so I began reading. And as soon as I got through the chapter about remote controlled aircraft technology, and how it had been around for years, I knew . . .
Then surfing online one evening, I saw the video showing the squibs ejecting perpendicular to and out of the towers. And upon checking the copy of Newsweek
I had saved from that week, the week of 9/11/01, one of the stills of the collapsing towers in that issue also revealed squibs -- something that could not have been doctored after-the-fact as it was rushed into print.
Every replay on every station from every angle I saw after that also had squibs.
That was when I really knew that things in the United States and the world were much worse than I ever could have imagined. Around that time was when I first started listening to Black Op Radio, and now I'm on all these forums two years later, writing show notes for Black Op Radio, administering a forum of my own, living a troubled, everchanging perspective through the journey of life.
6. It's been five years since the attacks. What has been the most obvious effect of this event on your life?
My attitude. I would give my life in a second if I thought the blowback from my political execution would somehow destroy the Secret Team forever.-GR