Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Credibility and Conspiracy Theories

The concept of "Conspiracy Nuts" began after the assassination of Kennedy, when anyone who didn't accept the findings of the Warren Commission could safely be written off as a Conspiracy Nut.

The same brush-off has been resurrected to deal with questions about what happened on 9/11. And perhaps both "conspiracies" are a product of the same mind set. Perhaps if we took any event that is reported in great detail and subjected each detail to careful and critical scrutiny, we would begin to doubt our own existence.


Nevertheless, I have some unanswered questions which lead me to doubt the official conspiracy story. (Keep in mind that the official story involves a conspiracy involving dozens of people on several continent and a series of amazing coincidences.)

So here are my wonderings.

The first thing that strikes me is the small number of people on all 4 of the planes that crashed that day. I have flown on a number of occasions before and after 9/11, and for at least 20 years it has been extremely unusual for there to be more than a handful of empty seats on any commercial flights in this country. Airlines simply cannot stay in business if they fly half empty flights coast to coast on a regular basis. In 2006, the percentage of seats filled on average was around 80%.

The planes that crashed on 9/11 each had between 181 to 224 seats available.

Flight 11 (Boston to LA) had 76 passengers and 5 hijackers (=81 passengers) and at least 100 empty seats

Flight 175 (Boston to LA) had 56 passengers (including the hijackers) and at least 125 empty seats.

Flight 77 (DC to LA) had 53 passengers + 5 hijackers (=58 passengers)and at least 128 empty seats.

Flight 93 (Newark to San Francisco) had 37 passengers (including 4 hijackers) and about 144 empty seats.

Think about the likelihood of 4 flights, on a beautiful fall morning, leaving at a convenient hour and traveling between major coastal cities being so empty. When is the last time you've gotten on a commercial flight and 3 or 4 empty seats for each passenger? I haven't seen fill rates like that since the 1970s!

Did the terrorists mercifully choose half-empty flights to minimize the number of deaths? Was there some other reason that the flights they were on were eerily empty? I don't have an answer, but this does strike me as a surprising coincidence.

The other big question in my mind is why the WTC buildings not only collapsed, but exploded into a cloud of dust. When I saw the buildings come down on live tv, my first thought was, Oh my God, it's like Columbine, they had planted explosives in there!

Now I have some doubts whether that would have been possible, because apparently it takes a lot of manpower and a lot of time to wire buildings for demolition. Perhaps it was done, but I'm inclined to think it wasn't. But is it possible that some other mechanism was used? I read a website about the possibility of some sort of high-energy lasar type systems that the military has created.

It is hard for me to believe that layers of concrete and steel pancaking onto one another would literally disintegrate to such an extent that no bodies were found but only tiny fragments. By way of comparison, after the Challenger blew up in midair and crashed into the ocean, the shuttle was found nearly intact in the ocean and all the bodies were recognizable as being still belted into their seats. That space shuttle was a lot higher up than a tall building, and yet in their fall to earth they didn't vaporize. And that was an actual explosion, not a "collapse."

There are many other loose ends, but these two questions, based on commonsense observations, put me in the Conspiracy Nut category.

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