01 May, 2009

Panic Fatigue 2

or People Making Fun of Frightened New Yorkers, STFU

I made mention in the previous post of the idiotic flyover that terrorised New Yorkers this week. Apparently, the idea was to get some photos of Air Force One (although, since the president wasn't on board, it wasn't really Air Force One) flying low over Manhattan.
What could possibly go wrong?

One thing that has really pissed me off is the attitude of more than a few commenters on the story. In their view it's New Yorkers' fault for panicking and they all ought to harden up.

There is a perception, both within and outside the US, that it is a nation scared of its own shadow – but that's got nothing to do with the attacks of September 11th, it dates back to the McCarthy witch-hunts at least. And any country that gives time of day to the notion that public health cover is the road to Stalinism, or that government assistance to ordinary people burned by the financial crisis is somehow tyranny, leaves most of the rest of us scratching our heads.

And we all know how the previous administration used this innate fear and the fresh memory of terrorist attacks for political gain. Compare and contrast the number of “terror alerts” issued in 2004, the year Bush was up for re-election (none of which were ever substantiated), with the ones that came since. Whether they stopped pulling that trick because they got what they wanted, or to avoid panic fatigue setting in, is anyone's guess.

But just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean they're not out to get you. New Yorkers know this better than most. So when they hear and see an airliner flying low over the city without any warning, what the hell are they supposed to think – especially after the last time that happened? Some keyboard crusaders actually suggested that witnesses should have recognised Air Force One when they saw it. Oh yeah? Can you describe the livery on the jet that hit the second tower? Can you tell us what airlines they were from without Googling it? Didn't think so. So shut up!

I know that getting upset about people on comments pages is about as pointless as complaining about the water content of rain but some things got beyond run-of-the-mill dickishness. It's pretty clear that these arseholes who are saying New Yorkers are a bunch of pussies for panicking, have never suffered anything more traumatic than being bitten by a virtual zombie on Facebook. If they had, they might have a bit more empathy with people who are legitimately traumatised and had a very good reason for fearing for their lives. They don't need therapy, they just need some compassion and consideration. The kind of consideration that makes you think twice before buzzing them with a low-flying 747 without any warning.

I'm the first to call bullshit on opportunistic cretins who chant “NINEELEVEN” as an excuse for anything from invading Iraq to torture to racism. But equally I can't abide smarmy little prats saying that people who were there, and saw the horrors of that day should just get over it. You wouldn't yell BANG! behind a war veteran and then laugh at him for being startled, would you? So show some respect and shut up!


  1. Well said mate.

  2. Roosevelt: We have nothing to fear but fear itself.
    Bush: Fear everything before an election. All's well after.