Remembering Names

Flight 93

On Sept. 11, 2001, courageous passengers and crew on Flight 93 decided to sacrifice their lives in defense of their nation. The plane they were traveling on was infected by malignant terrorism. They fought back. They developed a plan and attacked the cancer. We honor their courageous citizenship.

We know the names of the malignant souls who caused the tragedy of 9/11.

The Johnstown Flood

Twenty miles from the Flight 93 crash site is the Johnstown Flood National Memorial administered by the National Park Service. On May 31, 1889, an earthen dam collapse led to the death of more than 2,200 Americans. The dam’s failure released 20 million tons of water. A tsunami-like wave thundered through a narrow river valley. Low-lying neighborhoods 14 miles upriver from the broken dam were obliterated.

When the wall of water reached the city of Johnstown, Pa., 99 entire families, including 396 children, were lost. Ninety-eight children were orphaned. Seven hundred and seventy-seven bodies were never identified.

We know the names of 50 wealthy Pittsburgh industrialists who belonged to the club that modified the dam to create the recreational lake that flooded Johnstown.

Who’s to Blame?

Who caused 9/11? Who caused the Johnstown Flood? What decisions led to these disasters? What policies might have averted them?

In many cases it’s impossible to determine responsibility. But progressive civilization is about trying. It’s vital that we strive to identify the causes of both natural and man-made disasters.

We know the global economy is facing the possibility of depression. Depressions are man-made disasters. Millions of impoverished and unemployed people are already suffering. Billions may suffer if the current recession turns into a depression.

Cautionary Tale

Knowing they are five years away from running out of water, a town decides to strictly limit consumption. Then the town catches fire. Lots of water is needed to put the fire out. One Tea Party friend says, Stick to the plan. Save water even if the town burns down.

Decisions are being made, not only about flight security and dam construction, but also about how to avoid an unprecedented global economic downturn. My Tea Party friend says we must continue to cut no matter what. If the world recession turns into a prolonged depression, his Tea Party formula may turn out to have been a tragically oversimplified and self-destructive approach to global economic healing.

Will we remember names?

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