Jul 18, 2007

Steam explosion causes scare in NYC

Steam explosion causes scare in NYC - Yahoo! News

The specter of 9/11 appeared in Mid-town this evening as a plum of steam/smoke rose above the skyline from 41st Street and Lexington Avenue. I can not overcome the skepticism by the instant response that it had nothing to do with terrorism. Last Fall when Yankees pitcher crashed his airplane into an apartment building, there were news commenters who stated "we do not know much other than this is not an act of terrorism." Back in the summer 2005 before Hurricane Katrina there were several refineries that had explosions, again we were immediately given the response that it had nothing to do with terrorism.

My general problem is that everyone in authority without knowing anything have gained the reflex to denounce any emergency has any connection with terrorism. It does not help the NYPD, FBI, Homeland Security, or anyone else to constantly speak as if they know before anything happens that they are certain the event has nothing to do with terrorism. This sort of behavior, though may have the intentions of calming the public, does not build confidence in the integrity and honesty of authority figures. Worse this behavior gives the conspiracy theorists red meat for the belief that terrorism is all pre-determined, or that those who are responsible for protecting us always has foreknowledge of terrorist incidents.

In October of 2001 a flight from JFK to the Dominican Republic which crashed in the Rockaways. The immediate response of New York City officials was to act as if was part of terrorist attack, closing the subways, closing bridges and tunnels, and generally preparing the city for the worse. Though not as calming as pavlovianly stating with confidence yet without any evidence that it had no terrorism connection, this reaction of preparing for the worse was truly the more cautious reaction. Closing the transit, airports, and river crossings certainly inconvenienced tens of thousands of New Yorkers but was the best course of action.

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