Thursday, May 03, 2007

The Usual "Not Your Typical Kook" Story

Chico appears to be a hotbed of 9-11 Denial; we talked about the Chico State Truth week (which apparently drew the hardcore 20-30 Truthers), now we hear about the greybeards among the local tinfoil hat crew:

Samuel Ready, looking somewhat like a retired professor on vacation, sporting a graying beard and ball cap, is a calm, cheery and well-spoken man. His educational background includes a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Georgia Tech and a master's in electrical engineering from USC. Ready worked in the defense industry for 26 years in Los Angeles. Currently, the 72-year-old Chicoan works as a budget maker for local and Bay Area homeowners' associations, and he attends Trinity United Methodist Church.

As unlikely as it may seem to some, Ready also is the man responsible for starting up the Chico 9/11 Truth group, just one part of a loose yet highly communicative network of people worldwide who are challenging the official explanation for the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Actually he sounds like the classic 9-11 CT nutbar; this movement has way more than its share of aging academics, more than its share of electrical engineers, more than its share of religious people. It's an oddball mix; as has often been remarked it's made up of folks who don't have anything better to do. You don't see a lot of folks in their 30s and 40s, it's 20s and 50s and up.

Contrary to the popularly held belief that anyone who charges that the government had any direct responsibility for the 9/11 attacks should immediately be dismissed as a "conspiracy-theory kook," more and more well-educated, "normal" people--teachers, engineers, computer scientists--are becoming part of the movement.

What the writer means to say is that she herself is a conspiracy theory kook and is overly impressed with her fellow nutbars.

Here are the profiles:

Crites looks considerably younger than her 64 years. Though her shoulder-length, feathered hair is gray, she has a healthy, youthful physical appearance and warm demeanor. She dresses neatly, even a little conservatively. She has a pleasant, calm manner, and she speaks thoughtfully and clearly, with a measured ease, befitting her profession.

Hanford grew up in the Bay Area and attended UC Berkeley in the late '60s, earning a B.A. in history and an M.A. in folklore. He came to Chico in 1971 as a conscientious objector to the Vietnam War in order to do his alternative service in Chico State's Community Action Volunteers in Education (CAVE) program. From the late '70s through the late '90s, Hanford worked as a meter reader for PG&E.

Mills has been a professor of civil engineering at Chico State for the past 25 years. He holds two graduate degrees in structural engineering, and before teaching that subject he worked for a structural engineering firm in San Francisco.

Oooops! You probably caught the difference in that last profile, but unfortunately for the Deniers, Russell Mills is a Debunker:

Mills, 54, agrees with FEMA's report concerning the attacks--namely that the WTC buildings were destroyed as the result of the plane crashes combined with the resultant fire and "pancaking" of the floors onto each other, from the top down, after structural integrity was so severely compromised.

And Ken Jenkins:

Jenkins holds a B.S. in electrical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University and has done post-graduate study in psychology. A former employee of Hewlett-Packard, he has been working in the video industry--first in hardware, now in software--for the past 25 years. Nearly 60, well-read and sporting long hair, he converses in a friendly, engaging and confident manner.

Check, another electrical engineer, another silver ponytail.