Hit and Run comment heroine Jennifer Abel (just plain Jennifer to us) does what few do: without pre-deciding one way or the other who has to be right and who has to be wrong, she dips into the world of moderate 9/11 Truthers for the Hartford Advocate.
She starts by noting why it might be valuable to take a dispassionate look at the topic:
According to a 2006 Scripps-Howard poll, over a third of Americans believe high-ranking officials either helped commit the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, or at least allowed them to happen.
The whole thing is worth reading, but an interesting excerpt that sheds some light on why competent adult professionals get involved in thinking about this stuff:
Michael Neuman is the unfortunate bureaucrat whose name and number grace the contact information of that NIST report [a National Institute of Standards and Technology 2005 report on the metallurgical realities of steel as related to what happened to the buildings on 9/11].
We called and (somewhat apologetically) explained we were doing a story on 9/11 conspiracies.
"We don't want to get into a debate," Neuman said. "Certainly people are entitled to their opinion … [but] we're staying away from debates with these groups."
We assured him we didn't belong to "these groups," though we admitted some of the groups' members made points we could not refute. We hoped Neuman could. The first thing we mentioned was [former Brigham Young University physicist Steven] Jones's claims of finding explosive residue in the debris.
"We examined over 200 pieces of steel and found no evidence of explosives," Neuman said.
We know, we said (even more apologetically), but what about that letter where NIST said it didn't look for evidence of explosives?
"Right, because there was no evidence of that."
But how can you know there's no evidence if you don't look for it first?
"If you're looking for something that isn't there, you're wasting your time … and the taxpayers' money."
Neuman really didn't want to talk to us. Depending on your preference, you could interpret that as further proof of a government cover-up, or as a legitimate time-management technique from a bureaucrat who can't be expected to persuade every single doubter who finds his phone number on the NIST report.
My linking to this story, I will spell out for the evidence-based community, does not say anything about what I know, think, or think I know about controlled demolition or how steel melts or collapses when doused in airplane fuel. Neither have I ever tried to shoot a Mannlicher-Carcano three times in eight seconds nor detonated 4800 pounds of ammonium nitrate.