1. Welcome to SportsJournalists.com, a friendly forum for discussing all things sports and journalism.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register for a free account to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Access to private conversations with other members.
    • Fewer ads.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

You're Our Heroes. Sorry If You're Dying.

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by Fenian_Bastard, Sep 7, 2006.

  1. The Big Ragu

    The Big Ragu Moderator Staff Member

    I live less than 2 1/2 miles from the site. I am positive I spent the next year breathing all kinds of scary things. For about a week after the buildings came down, the air in my neighborhood was thick enough to breathe with a spoon. The first 24 hours, you couldn't even be outside. The air was filled with debris and it was blowing in our direction. You could barely see ahead.

    Bloomberg's quote is laughable and he should be ashamed of himself for trying to whitewash the health problems people are having as a result with a statement that stupid.

    But I am wondering what the point of that story was? Yes, the workers who went in there should be taken care of. But the "They should have warned us better!" posture is just ridiculous. I say this as someone who volunteered at the site several days a week for a few months, so I breathed it all in too. Everyone knew the air sucked. And everyone there wanted to be there.

    There was chaos immediately after. And then, in the months following, there was the attitude of, "We need to clear this as quickly as possible." They were trying to recover bodies for families who had no closure. It isn't like anyone went in there not thinking, "I am breathing some nasty stuff by coming in here." The first two things they gave us were a hardhat and a supply of air filter masks. I must have had the "I can't imagine what I am breathing and what it is going to do to me" conversation several dozen times. Everyone was having that conversation.

    I just don't see how given the crisis circumstances, and the need to react to the situation, anything different could have been done. This is another example to me of something bad happening and there being people with a compulsive need to point a finger and find a responsible villain. There really isn't a bad guy here, though. The air quality was shitty. People are sick as hell because of it. It isn't like Christie Whitman decided to poison the air. The terrorists who flew those planes are to blame. Not the EPA.
  2. Ragu -
    The government knew the air was worse than what the government was saying it was. It withheld that information from the people who needed it most for a number of reasons, all of them bad. There are people who did that who need to be held responsible for the consequences of their actions. Caveat emptor isn't a workable public-health philosophy.
  3. Ben_Hecht

    Ben_Hecht Active Member

    Nobody wants to be held liable for big bucks. You know those tort-reformers . . .
  4. Boom_70

    Boom_70 Well-Known Member

    Ragu - having had many friends also work there in recovery I accept everything you have said. My problem is that if Gov't had info that air was bad they should have come clean.

    That said I have no doubt that rescue efforts would have continued.
  5. The Big Ragu

    The Big Ragu Moderator Staff Member

    FB, OK. The EPA knew the air was poisonous. It didn't issue anything saying just how bad it was. I understand your point.

    Now my question is, what difference would it have made? I didn't need any sophisticated testing machine, or government report, to tell me that I was breathing some horrible things every time I walked down into that giant pile of rubble. I wondered at the time what health problems were going to be visiting people somewhere down the line. EVERYONE wondered that. It isn't like anyone who worked down there went in thinking it was going to be good for their health.

    It is really easy to nitpick every decision made at a time of crisis and do it for political reasons. But it's Monday Morning quarterbacking. In the immediate weeks after the buildings came down, thousands of people went in there to work, hoping to find people they could save. Not only couldn't the EPA have had any time to do decent analysis of the air quality, it wouldn't have changed a thing. Making that any sort of priority would have been an insane use of resources. I can say with 100 percent certainty that in the week or two after 9/11, you weren't sitting somewhere saying to yourself, "Damn. They shouldn't do anything--no one should head anywhere near there--until they can commission an air quality study."

    In the months afterward, there was a feeling that we needed to clear the mess as quickly as possible for morale reasons and because there were still hundreds of unaccounted for bodies. Even if the EPA was sitting on info that spelled out just how bad the air quality was, it STILL wouldn't have changed a thing. They couldn't purify the air. And 99 percent of the people who went in there to work and volunteer would have gone in just the same. I KNEW the air was bad for my health and I still chose to go in there. If you want to sum that up as "caveat emptor," fine. Who exactly ripped me off, though, other than the fucks who flew those planes into the buildings?
  6. dog428

    dog428 Active Member

    Isn't warning the rescuers about the air quality only half the problem here?

    Isn't the fact that quite a few people, such as Dr. Bloomberg, are claiming these workers aren't really sick from this shit the other half?
  7. Dog --
    That's the newest problem.
    The air was bad. People knew it how bad and buried the information, denying people who were performing the grunt work information they needed to protect their own health.
    I'm sure that people who live near chemical plants are aware that their tap water tastes funny. Doesn't alleviate the responsibility of the people whose carelessness (or worse) is poisoning it.
  8. Boom_70

    Boom_70 Well-Known Member

    This is a troublesome statement:

    "When the EPA made a September 18 announcement that the air was 'safe' to breathe, it did not have sufficient data and analyses to make such a blanket statement," the report says. "Furthermore, the White House Council on Environmental Quality influenced . . . the information that EPA communicated to the public through its early press releases when it convinced EPA to add reassuring statements and delete cautionary ones."
  9. "White House Council On Environmental Quality" = political hacks.
  10. The Big Ragu

    The Big Ragu Moderator Staff Member

    Come on, FB. You are smarter and better than this. If a chemical plant poisons the drinking water, they should be held responsible. Everyone would agree with that.

    Now how do you make any sort of analogy between THAT and the poor air quality after 9/11? Who exactly is the "chemical plant" that should be held responsible for the poor air?

    You are making a tortured argument to try to hold the EPA, or George Bush, or someone else on your list of villians responsible--for political reasons. But your favorite government villian is not responsible for poisoning the air, the way the chemical company was responsible for poisoning the water. That was a horrible analogy.

    Holding back info was bad, if it did occur. Government shouldn't be doing that. You have me there. Taking that argument and turning it into "the government is culpable for people who now have health problems," is beyond reason. The terrorists who flew those planes are responsible.
  11. No, but the government would be at fault if it knew the water was poisoned and buried the information -- or, if it allowed the plant, because it was owned, say, by a big contributor, to ignore the regulations-- and allowed the people to get sicker and sicker. It wouldn't be their fault just because they knew something was wrong with the water. The government's liability would not be greater or lesser than that of the company. Just different.
    And I don't hold the government culpable for the air being bad. But the people didn't get sick on the day the towers came down. They got sick -- and progressively sicker -- over the next few weeks and months and the government knew why and buried the information. It has substantial culpability in that regard.
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page