Of the myths that have persisted about 9-11, perhaps the most stubborn are that firefighters are superheroes and Rudy Giuliani saved the city. This week, a pair of Voice writers approach those legends, one tenderly, one with a two-by-four.
In his cover story “Blunt Trauma,” Jarrett Murphy profiles three firefighters for whom the attacks aren’t really over—even as the rest of the FDNY is moving on. Of one, Joe McMahon, pictured above, Murphy writes:
“He looks a little tired because he spent a restless night sweating and chasing sleep, but he took an extra anti-anxiety pill this morning, in addition to the three he takes each night. He’s a little tense because he’s waiting for a phone call to learn whether or not he can retire from the New York City Fire Department on a disability pension.”
Meanwhile, in their new book Grand Illusion: The Untold Story of Rudy Giuliani, Voice writer Wayne Barrett and Dan Collins advance the once unspeakable proposition that Mayor Giuliani (pictured below) actually made the situation worse—by failing to prepare the city properly, for one, and by putting the emergency bunker under such an obvious target as the World Trade Center. The authors appeared Tuesday morning on the WNYC’s Brian Lehrer Show (audio here).
Have we stiffed the people who did their jobs on 9-11 and sainted the ones who didn’t?