By Pete Kotz
By Michael Musto
By Michael Musto
By Capt. James Van Thach told to Jonathan Wei
By Kera Bolonik
By Michael Musto
By Nick Pinto
By Steve Weinstein
Was the crash an accident or an act of terrorism? I didn't consider either one at first. Instead, I thought about the people on the plane and on the ground. The media rushes to fill the news cycle, but I think that if you turn off the TV and wait awhile, you'll get the necessary information. There's a lot of impatience. The government should hold a daily news briefing where everything is explained.
Do you believe what you're being told about it? Planes crash. I don't have a big conspiracy theory about this one. It won't help the airline industry during the holidays, but I don't think the NTSB is going to bail out American Airlines by saying one thing or the other about the cause.
Are you more nervous about flying? I recently had a kind of terrorist experience. On my flight from Madrid, they arrested an Algerian man with a fake passport. They put him in a straitjacket and took him off the plane. I'm not afraid of flying, and I'm not worried about screening. On the plane they give you metal forks and knives, some of which are so sharp you could cut someone's throat with them. Do you really think that terrorists are going to use regular means to carry out their agendas?
Was the crash an accident or an act of terrorism? Right away, the first thing I thought was that it was terrorism. I thought they'd brought a bomb onto the plane, and that they meant to just blow the plane up. They didn't care where it was going, or who was on it. I felt shocked, with this happening so soon after the World Trade Center.
Do you believe what you're being told about it? No. They're hiding information. They think it's better to say it was an accident, because people would be less scared than if they admitted it was terrorism. Personally, I'm still dealing with the anthrax thing. I pick up my mail at the post office. It seems safer to me than having it delivered.
Are you more nervous about flying? Yes. I was going to go to Santo Domingo to get liposuction. Not on that flight, but a group of friends and I were going down there because it's cheaper to get it done there. I just had a baby and I wanted to get rid of my little stomach. Now we're thinking whether to go.
Was the crash an accident or an act of terrorism? I've missed all of these things, including the attack on the trade center, because I've been out of the country for the last four months. I just got back from Montserrat. They had television and radio, but there wasn't a lot of information. Now I'm back and I feel like I'm in Kosovo with all these armed guards everywhere. My friends in the Caribbean liken the effects of the attack on New York to their own volcano eruption. All that steel melting and devastation. I really think that news coverage of the crash is what it is because of the events of September 11. If you look at coverage of other plane crashes, it wasn't nearly as extensive.
Do you believe what you're being told about it? No. There's two sides to every story. My mother always says, "If you point the finger, there's always three fingers pointing back." The airline industry is worried about its stock. Whatever they're telling the American public, you're know they're saying something else on the DL.
Are you more nervous about flying? No. I just flew in. I don't think it was in God's plan to have all those people die in the World Trade Center or in the Rockaways, but I do think when it's my time to go, so be it.
Was the crash an accident or an act of terrorism? I gave the authorities the benefit of the doubt. I'm very optimistic. Maybe I have too much faith. I had a different feeling about this crash than I did about Flight 800. We were all hurt so badly so recently. We're so vulnerable. Numbness would be a way to describe my reaction. You deal with it by denying that it could be an act of terrorism. I think it was an unfortunate accident with very bad timing.
Do you believe what you're being told about it? If it was terrorism, they wouldn't tell us. They don't want people to panic in the streets. Americans get the information, then go into denial. It may be a form of self-protection. The press and the government also think that the less Americans know, the better off they'll be. I watch Portuguese news, and it presents a much more neutral kind of news. It's the facts. Here, the media pushes a position that's basically, "We're good, everyone else is bad." The events of September 11 should have been a wake-up call for us.
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