9/11 and this website, what could they possibly have to do with each other? Plenty. That day was an attack on this country, personal freedoms, and aviation. It put many in the aviation community in a defensive mode. Defending their personal freedom to take to the sky in what has to be one of the best literal examples of freedom. For some flight is just a dream, for some it’s a hobby, for some it’s a livelihood, for many it’s a state of mind and a way of life. Now when people look overhead and see an airplane, any kind of airplane, they look at it differently than they did before that day.
The extremists that were anti-aviation prior to 9/11 have now used this negative connotation to further their own sick and twisted causes. Since beginning this defense of Longmont Airport, I’ve heard a couple disturbing connections between 9/11 and aviation here in Longmont. The first is on the noise complaint log made by Mr. Tom Zweck. The latest was an email to the site, and the ensuing phone call from the site, in reference to some comments made by a Mr. Dave Reed of Longmont. In the days leading up to 9/11’s anniversary, Mr. Reed suggested 9/11 was a godsend, in reference to the grounding of many aircraft. He also stated “Plan ahead, you will not be flying in the near future, people will be mobilizing and it won’t be to support your cause.”
As the site makes clear, we are for freedom of speech, and clearly these two people were exercising it. Also, we want to not just show the positive comments about the site and cause, but also comments that are against it, which by posting this here we are. But the bigger problem is that Mr. Zweck is hiding behind his personal connections to City Staff. From all accounts he has not been at any City Council meetings or Airport Advisory Board meetings to constructively state his case. In Mr. Reed’s case, he used a false email address to hide behind his attack on the site, and his veiled threat against General Aviation, as our reply to him was returned as being an unknown address. It may seem extreme to lump these threats, attacks, and harassment from people like this to the cowardly, vicious attacks of 9/11, but you decide for yourselves. At the very least, it’s sick to get any kind of personal pleasure out of a national tragedy like that.
To get a better feel of this one webmaster’s position on aviation and 9/11, let’s go back in time to put things in perspective. Like many that are fascinated with airplanes, I started fairly young. It was always a dream of mine to be able to fly those metal chariots in the sky. When I finally made that dream come true as a teenager, my dream then turned to ownership of my own mode of personal freedom, an airplane. In the meantime I taught others how to fly, did some college simulator teaching, and got into an aviation-related career. It took nearly 20 years to realize my dream of airplane ownership, which occurred nearly a month to the day before 9/11. But I wasn’t the only one in aviation that took that attack personally, regardless of what it was doing to the money I had sunk into that airplane. I had felt violated as an American and as an aviation enthusiast. Like others, I knew it’d be an uphill battle to defend aviation, to defend our right to do what we love to do. It’s no different than defending any other right that may come under attack from various sources.
Jump forward to late July, 2002. I was exercising that right, and quite legally as a matter of fact, one nice day over Longmont. For that it was suggested that I “should be shot” and that my “license should be taken away”. Those are pretty strong words. It was just one more in a long line of attacks before and after 9/11, and the line was drawn, and not just by one person. A group instantly popped up in response to this, some new, some from fights in the past, but all with some common goals: a counterattack against attacks like these, the defense of personal freedoms and free speech, and the continued security of facilities like Vance Brand Airport. Sure sounds a lot like what this country and its government is doing in response to 9/11, doesn’t it? This movement here in Longmont is just small example of such a fight. As the battle lines get drawn, the decision needs to be made by City Council, City Staff, neighbors, airport users, aircraft owners, current and future business in and around the airport, and airport detractors where they stand, and why.
This is not a new fight, nor will it go away soon.
Chris Rodriguez – Managing Editor Wrongmont.Com
Wednesday September 11, 2002