Saturday, February 01, 2003

Another tragedy this morning, as the space shuttle Columbia has crashed in Texas, minutes away from its planned landing at Kennedy Space Center.

Story on Yahoo! News Site

When the Challenger blew up, in January 1986, I was working at a college radio station and had to broadcast the news to our heavy rocking listeners. It was a day I'm unlikely to ever forget.

This, too, is a sad time, but with all the events of the last couple of years, I don't know that I'm likely to carry the memory of this moment with me for very long. Maybe it just hasn't sunk in yet, having only read the news on the Internet, and not yet seen the video.

In today's hateful political climate (and we thought it was hateful back in the Reagan '80s - Hah!) what I found equally disturbing to the actual tragedy, was the "human" response as evidenced on Yahoo!'s discussion board associated with the article (link above).

Because of the presence of an Israeli astronaut (the first on a U.S. mission), there were several threads of posts composed on anti-Semitic themes. A typical examples was "Holocaust Museum on the Moon", which said that the Jews would use this to "spread their propaganda in outer space."

The only post that made any sense was the person who reminded us of the famous line about the shuttle (who first said it?), "Over 200,000 moving parts, and it's built by the lowest bidder."

Columbia was built in 1981. Tell me, do you use a computer that's over 20 years old to run your business? Or even to write a letter? Yet that's the technology our space program is forced to run on.

Maybe I'm just tired, maybe I shouldn't have read the posts following the article, but now I'm feeding into the paranoia; Will Bush try to pin this on the Iraqis or Al Queda to further his war agenda? Will the wackos who are posting their hatred online try to pin this on the Israelis to further their agenda?

What a state our union is in when we can't even mourn such a tragedy without fearing where the political spin will take it.

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