Occasionally, the curtain is parted and we get to see . . . provided we want to look.
Nahhhnlevven was one such moment. Even insofar as the term (and day) itself. What are the chances it was random chance – coincidental – that the events of that day happened on that day out of all the 365 days of the year? On Nine One One . . . the day-term people in America associate with an emergency? Does it make sense that the “Islamic terrists,” as The Chimp styled them – and by the way, where have they all gone? – would chose that particular day, for that reason?
On that day, I happened to be in DC, where I was still working for The Washington Times as a member of the editorial page staff. Almost on cue, the editorial department there – and suddenly everywhere else – was referring to “911” rather than “the terrorist attacks” or similar terms you’d expect them to use organically.
As if on cue. Like Myna birds prompted to speak what they’d been taught to say – and just as unconsciously.
I also remember seeing the initial local-network coverage of the attack on the Pentagon. Of the too-small-for-a-757 hole in the side of the building, with unbroken walls on either side and no damage above the hole, where a 757’s vertical stabilizer ought to have caused damage. Nor were there “punch out” holes on either side of the hole, where the wings and huge jet engines that powered a 757 would have caused such damage. Or at least, where you would expect to see such damage.
And – to this day – not one photo or video of a 757 in the air, approaching the Pentagon – notwithstanding it was a beautiful early Fall day and there were hundred if not thousands of tourists about with cameras and the area itself is peppered with always-on security cameras. Keeping in mind that this attack was no surprise, as the attacks on the Trade Center had already occurred and everyone was aware that airplanes had been crashed into the Twin Towers.
The sound of a low-flying 757 is not quiet. And that sound – and sight – would have immediately alarmed all those people out and about. Yet not one of them took a picture or shot a video of a 757 on an inbound course toward the Pentagon. Not one of the always-on security cameras – in the city with the most security cameras in the country – captured this sight, either.
Then there was the third building that pancaked down into its own footprint, though no airplane struck it and no high-temp fires could have “weakened” its steel supports as there weren’t any high-temp fires on fire to do that trick. Just ordinary office-type fires fueled by wood and so on that could not have “weakened” structural steel supports because such fires do not burn hot enough. And “weakened” them just right? All at once? So as to cause a near-symmetric free-fall collapse?
Three of them – on the same day?
This was an in-your-face moment. All of them. But most couldn’t process the sight because most cannot conceive such a thing is possible; that human beings could plan such a thing and then do such a thing.
Not the “terrists,” I mean.
The things who own and control the apparat we loosely style “government.” The very things who insisted that 757s are so easy to fly that almost anyone can not only fly them (why bother with all those years of training expected of 757 pilots?) but fly them acrobatically, with great precision, at the limits of the airframe’s capabilities – including at hundred of knots of airspeed, then just a few yards off the deck – without crashing into it – before crashing into the side of a low-lying building almost exactly horizontally.
My friend the former Navy pilot says this is unlikely verging on impossible – for someone who isn’t a Navy pilot. Or at least someone who was an experienced 757 pilot, someone with lots of experience flying one rather than a Cessna/simulator.
The people standing around waiting to be loaded into boxcars in those black-and-white images all of us have seen didn’t see, either. The normal human brain cannot process this kind of thing – until it is too late to see. After the doors have been closed and the realization finally dawns that they are not being “relocated” to new homes in the East.
So it was for most Americans on that beautiful fall day, now more than 20 years in the rearview. To this day, most of them still cannot see – because it costs too much to have a look.
It is why they could not see what came next – nor understand what it meant – when they were told that from now on they’d have to spread their legs and raise their arms and take off their shoes in order to be a passenger on a 757 or any other commercial airplane. Italicized to emphasize the fact that these “practices” do not apply to private aviation because obviously, “Islamic terrists” cannot afford to charter a 757.
They did not see what it would mean – to submit to all of this – and so they were rendered malleable to even more submission, which of course they didn’t see coming, either. After some 20, “Islamic terrists” began to get tired, so they got to see something else – something they literally couldn’t see.
It made every day a new Nahhhnlevven – for almost three years now.
Many donned what were (and are) styled their “masks” – the possessive isn’t accidental – as well as rolled up their sleeves – with just as much resistance as they offered up when told they (and their children, wives and grandmothers) must spread their legs, raise their arms and take off their shoes.
And they still don’t see, many of them.
But many of us did, way back then.
And more of us do, with every day that passes. Time is not on their side. The side of those who didn’t want us to see what they were showing us, even as they did it right in front of our faces. If that sounds incongruous, it’s only because you do not see the world as they do.
What they wanted to do was show us without our coming to grips with what we had seen. No, it could not be that. It has to be something else. Something sane. Something – anything – but that.
But it was.
And it is.
It will be, again (and worse) if we enough of us refuse to see what they did – right in front of all our faces.
. . .
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