Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Aaron Alexis Report: Possible Error?

Reports circulating quickly in the shock of the Navy Yard shootings contained at least one line which needs checking.  The New York Times treated this line with caution, reporting:

"Mr. Alexis’s father has told the authorities that his son had been among the first responders at the World Trade Center and that he believed that Mr. Alexis suffered from post-traumatic stress and had difficulty controlling his anger. It was not known whether he was involved in any rescue effort."

These words appear in the article "Naval Yard Gunman Is Said To Have Had Mental Ills for a Decade," by MICHAEL S. SCHMIDT, SARAH MASLIN NIR and TIMOTHY WILLIAMS; published: September 17, 2013.

By contrast, the UK Daily Mail Online appeared to cut to the journalistic chase with this headline:

"Revealed: Washington gunman who murdered 12 had 'anger issues' after rescuing victims of 9/11 and had been kicked out of the Navy after gun charge," by JAMES NYE, LOUISE BOYLE, DAVID MARTOSKO IN WASHINGTON, MEGHAN KENEALLY and PAUL THOMPSON IN WASHINGTON; PUBLISHED: 08:11 EST, 16 September 2013 | UPDATED: 07:12 EST, 17 September 2013. (Highlighting supplied by this writer.)

The contrast between the two claims may be checked by consulting 9/11 Research: World Trade Center Survivors, which reveals: 

"Here we focus on a much smaller group of people who either escaped or were rescued from Ground Zero after being trapped by the Towers' falls. Just 20 people are known to fit this description. Four of those were trapped and rescued by Ground Zero workers. The rest found their way out of that scene of incomprehensible destruction."

These two reports demonstrate the disturbing circumstances of both events: the 9/11 attack in Manhattan and 9/16 attack on the Navy Yard in Washington, DC. Journalists chasing the story cannot be faulted for being traumatized, too.

In this context, however, this critical question arises: Does the public remember the particular horror of First Responders' experience at Ground Zero on 9/11? There was almost no one to rescue: the destruction had been that thorough. Almost 3,000 people had been incinerated.

Complicating this entire experience on both occasions is acknowledgement that the public, including journalists, are not observers—they are participants, and every report must be vetted and vetted repeatedly, just as thoroughly, indeed, as the resumes and credentials of those seeking security clearances.

For additional reading:

9/11 Research: World Trade Center Survivors is available here: <http://911research.wtc7.net/sept11/victims/ wtcsurvivors.html>.  

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