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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
              Wednesday, September 26 2001 

Moving on

Leaving the topic "Where is God?" which seems to have run its course, I'll run by some additional thoughts about the whole September 11 attack on civilized humanity.

On my flight from London to Los Angeles last month (only last month?), there was an incident that frightens more in hindsight than at the time. While I stood in a line to use the water closet in a crowded American Airlines jetliner holding nearly 300 passengers, a 20-something man in the section of the plane ahead of ours got out of his seat, pulled a ski mask over his face, and rushed in a crouching posture to some acquaintances on the opposite side of the section my son Mike and I were seated in. He appeared to want to startle his acquaintances and, once done, he pulled the stocking cap with eye openings back off his head, had a laugh, shoved the cap in his pocket and walked normally back to his seat in the foreward section. A man sitting near where I was standing, a decade or so older than I, even (that is, probably past 70), got the young man's attention as he returned and angrily said, "that wasn't funny."

"It was funny to us," the young man replied, flipping his head to imply that he could care less.

As you might imagine, I've thought of that incident a lot in the past two weeks, and some serious post-facto reflection was inspired by a speech a pilot reportedly made over his plane's P.A. shortly after commercial flights resumed, which I'll take up tomorrow. Meanwhile, these observations....

The "joke," as it was apparently intended to be regarded, brought no apprent reaction from the flight crew whatsoever. It's possible it escaped the notice of all flight attendants, though that seems highly unlikely, considering the distance the youth traveled with the ski mask on and the murmur that went up near him. Still, most passengers were probably oblivious of anything happening; my son, for example, didn't know it had happened until I related it to him much later.

The youth was not "apparently" middle-Eastern, and if he had been I must confess I'd most likely have been more startled at the onset. He had features that could be from just about any Indo-European ethnicity. Like Sirhan Sirhan, for example, I wouldn't think "Arabic" on first look, but he could be. I realized, as I thought about whether I could describe him, I would probably use Sirhan and Sal Mineo as similar types; he was, like both of them, shorter than average, with "good looking" features, and actually fairer complexion than Mineo (a well-known actor of the 1950's and '60's for those too young to remember him; he was cast in youth roles well into his adult years, and though of Italian background one of his best known starring roles was as a Native American).

The question that makes it difficult to sleep these nights is: was he possibly one of the hijackers of the four commandeered planes? Was this a short rehearsal? On the negative side, it seems improbable that one of the actual hijackers would risk exposure by playing such a dangerous game. On the other hand, he might have been in league with them if not actually one of their core...testing the waters to see if American Airlines had very quick response mechanisms in place to deal with such contingencies, and report his findings to those wanting to know.

If that's the case, so far as I could discern there was little doubt about what report he would leave on his co-conspirator's answering machine.

Webmaster Jon Kennedy

Husbands, wives

My mother buried three husbands, and two of them were just napping.

—Rita Rudner

Sent by Mike Harrison

Thought for today

"When I despair, I remember that all through history the ways of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants, and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible, but in the end they always fall. Think of it...always."

—Mahatma Gandhi

Sent by Wim Roelandts

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