The Road to 65, Mile 288: When Systems Fail

September 11, 2015, Prescott- I checked on my pay status, early  this morning, and found that the employer in question had not deposited my due payment.  So, after getting self together, I went to the office of my immediate supervisor, who looked into the matter and arranged for due payment for me, and several others who were likewise inconvenienced, either by a system glitch or by the negligence of clerks.

This being the fourteenth anniversary of the various attacks on U.S. soil, I think about systemic failures, large and small.  It’s quite clear that the New York attacks were the subject of chatter, days before they happened, but human error, or insouciance, led to a lack of defensive action.  Of course, implosion devices, installed during the Clinton years, led to the collapse of the Twin Towers, rather than an outward explosion, which would have compounded the deaths and destruction in lower Manhattan.  That is no comfort at all for the thousands of families affected, in perpetuity, by the horror of that day, and its subsequent days of loss and suffering.

The other two major events of that day seem more surreal.  There is some doubt, in several circles, as to the truth in the matter of the Pentagon attack.  I have seen the Memorial, and am certain that all those who are remembered there, died a horrible death, aboard a plane.  Naysayers, who wonder if there was indeed a plane, are no help to the families who lost people that day.  The most likely scenario is that the plane vaporized, though the question remains:  “What was done with the wreckage?”  For reasons of national security, we may never know.

I have also been to the site of the Pennsylvania crash.  The Earth was scorched, and there were signs of a huge crash there, when Penny and I stopped there, in 2009.  There are sufficient voice recordings to back up the reports of that day.  The farmer, on whose land the crash occurred, had no reason to simply give up that section of his property to the U.S. Government, on a whim.  So, I am sure this event occurred, as reported.

There will always be failures of systems, large and small, whenever those in the system make errors in judgment, are fatigued, or get distracted. My father’s, and one of my high school mentor’s, exhortations to ALWAYS have a Plan B, have come in handy, time and again- and never more so than now.  We may very well face a time when government grinds to a screeching halt, the finances we take for granted dissipate, however temporarily, and we are left with whatever family or community we have had the wisdom to cultivate- for a fair length of time.

I am not a doomsayer, or one who believes in a cup half-empty, yet being prepared is more than a Scout motto.

4 thoughts on “The Road to 65, Mile 288: When Systems Fail

  1. I think there are always those who doubt the reality of disasters of all sizes — Kennedy’s death, the airplane in the Pentagon are just high-level examples of this. I hope you receive your pay quickly — perhaps a holiday forgotten in somebody’s workflow?


  2. I hope you got your pay?
    No matter what happened on Sept 11th, there will always be questions and queries, as to what happened. What is worst is the wars that happened after 9/11 like the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan. Which has left those countries in complete disarray, and civilians trying to find solace and running away to other countries.


  3. Yes, without the incompleteness of the First Gulf War, there would have been no invasion in 2003, no ISIL and no mass displacements in Iraq or Syria. Without the half-hearted attempt to beat the Soviets, in Afghanistan, there would have been on al-Qaeda, no Taliban and no wretchedness as we see today. We are difficult students, for Mr. History.


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