Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Conspiracies Gone Wild: The Lone Gunmen and September 11
I know that The Lone Gunmen's one season aired within a year of the events of September 11, 2001. While watching this first episode I felt certain that this episode aired shortly after September 11 and we could see it as a commentary on 9/11. The Lone Gunmen is a spy program surrounding the hijinx of three paranoiacs who write for a conspiracy newspaper of the same name, so it makes sense that this show would introduce us to the possibility of government conspiracy regarding 9/11. It's insensitive, yes, but it makes sense that if there is an accusation to be made it will come from the mouths of The Lone Gunmen.
It turns out I was wrong on both accounts.
The first episode of The Lone Gunmen aired on March 4, 2001, some nine months before the tragic events of September 11. (The tenth episode, "Tango de los Pistoleros," which suggests that an invisible Cessna could be flown into the White House, aired on April 27, 2001, only eight months before 9/11.) I was so astonished by the discovery that creator Chris Carter has essentially predicted the terrible tragedy of September 11 that I needed to tell somebody. As it was, I found myself alone in my apartment. I could have knocked on the door of one of my neighbors, all of whom are amiable and would share a laugh with me before closing the door and texting their friends about the crazy dude who lives next door, but instead I shared this revelation on Facebook.
In order to deal with the tension in my brain and in my feelings, I decided to plot out what I knew. I knew that the terrorist strike on American soils happened nine months after the air date of The Lone Gunmen episode that some might claim as its inspiration, but despite the whole pregnancy metaphor that nine months forces me to think about I found it hard to believe that 9/11 was carried out only nine months after its inspiration. I texted my friend Adam, whose roommate is a brilliant military and political strategist. He explained that, according to the best data, it would have taken at least eighteen months to carry out any plan like this. As a side note, he also said that it only cost the terrorists a few thousand dollars to attack us whereas our response has cost billions of dollars to date.
This is not an accusation I feel qualified to make. It's more like a feeling that I am inclined to go to every time I meditate on how many people were killed on September 11 and how many people were killed since then as a result of our response. The hurt want to place blame, and it's that very mechanism that brings me to this difficult place. My reason tells me that our federal government attempted to keep something like this from happening by jacking up airport security, but that some of their methods could not be justified unless something like September 11 actually happened. It tells me that the military has had plans for a very long time in order to deal with this very problem. If someone knew that something like September 11 would happen and couldn't stop it, my guess is that this person's suggested methods were either too expensive or violated too many human rights.
But then again, maybe nobody ever seriously thought anybody would ever crash a passenger plane into the World Trade Center. Perhaps Chris Carter is the visionary who can see past the things that we don't want to believe could happen. There are many dimensions to this discussion, many sides to find yourself on. My guess is that the truth, which we know to be "out there," is actually somewhere between the strongly worded rhetorics. Here's to hoping that our government employs all the creativity available in order to make sure that September 11 never becomes plural.