HolyCoast: The Air Force Photo Shoot - a New Yorker's View
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Monday, April 27, 2009

The Air Force Photo Shoot - a New Yorker's View

Earlier today the big story in New York City was the appearance of a low flying airliner over the city accompanied by F-16 fighters. You can understand that New Yorkers might be a big sensitive about those things. Here's one New Yorker's view from Red State:
This isn’t going to be a major story, but I’m awfully sore about it, and I’m not the only one.

Shortly before 10am this morning, a low-flying airliner buzzed New York Harbor just south of Manhattan, tailed by a pair of fighter jets. In case you weren’t here one dazzling September morning eight years ago, that’s exactly the flight path taken by the airplane that hit the south tower of the World Trade Center.

So what do you do when you hear that sickeningly familiar sound? Of course: you go into near-panic and evacuate all the office towers. That’s pretty close to what we did.

Now, we’ve come to find out what it was all about. If you haven’t heard this story, please brace yourself.

It was one of Barack Obama’s planes. It was one of the 747s used as Air Force One. They flew it past the Statue of Liberty. To snap some publicity pictures.

Why are we hopping mad about this? Because no one bothered to tell us. Apparently, DHS informed the New York police, but then instructed them not to say anything about it. The only thing I can guess is that they were afraid one of our friendly neighborhood terrorists might take the opportunity to fling a shoulder-launched missile at the thing.

So people I talked to (who were there on 9/11) said they heard two really loud flybys, and ducked because the next sound they expected to hear was a big crash. If you’re not from here, it’s hard to explain how sensitive people still are about this.

Why on earth did our President do this to us? Was he just plain thoughtless? Or was the insensitivity willful?
A lot of people (mostly Democrats) in other parts of the country may have forgotten 9/11, but nobody who lives or works in New York City has. This thing should have been announced in advance to more than just city leaders.

UPDATE: Apparently even Hizzoner Mayor Bloomberg was not told of the photo shoot:

Angry that an unnamed but "dumb" city official failed to notify him of the Pentagon's plans, Bloomberg said a flyover so close to Ground Zero was insensitive and showed "poor judgement."

He said the first he knew of it was when his BlackBerry began buzzing.

It "defies the imagination," said Bloomberg, who insisted he would have tried to stop the shoot had he known about it.

The NYPD confirmed that it had been told of the Pentagon's "aerial photo mission" last Thursday but ordered to stay quiet about it.

Sen. Chuck Schumer called the whole incident "absolutely outrageous and appalling."

"To think that the FAA would plan such a photo shoot and not warn the public, knowing full well that New Yorkers still have the vivid memory of 9/11 etched in their minds," he said.

"In New York, of all places, to not warn the public that one of the largest jets in the county tailed by a fighter jet is going to fly low over their communities defies logic and borders on simply being cruel."

UPDATE 2: New Yorkers run for their lives as Air Force One screams low overhead:

(And yes, I know it's not Air Force One unless the president is aboard, but if I said it was SAM 28000 or SAM 29000 you wouldn't have known what I was talking about.)

UPDATE: A White House mea culpa.

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