Friday, July 20, 2007

Compelled to Remember the Big One

New York Times: By Clyde Haberman
Anything short of terrorism somehow becomes bearable. We saw the phenomenon on Wednesday: Yes, a woman died, and others suffered bodily harm, and life turned upside down for many thousands. But at least it wasn’t a terrorist act. Whew!

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg gave voice to those feelings while trying to reassure the citizenry. “There is no reason to believe that this is anything other than a failure of our infrastructure,” Mr. Bloomberg said.

Only an infrastructure failure. Why that should be a comfort is a mystery. It meant that death could reach up from below and grab hold of us at any time.

But at least it wasn’t a terrorist act. Whew!...

How, went a recurring theme, can the government be unblinkingly trusted, given its post-9/11 record? A few people went so far as to ask why we should even believe the official assurances that this latest disaster was not a terrorist act.

At least others could set them straight on that score.

Writing to City Room, one of this newspaper’s blogs, a Queens woman who had been near the explosion, and who gave her name only as Adrienne, said she called her father to tell him she was fine.

“But terrorists could have blown up the steam tunnel,” he said to her.

“Relax,” Adrienne replied. “New York is falling apart without their help.”

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