Cessna pilot sympathised with Bin Laden...
January 6, 2002 4:15 PM   Subscribe

Cessna pilot sympathised with Bin Laden...
Does Americas enemy lie within?
posted by tomcosgrave (38 comments total)
Mr Holder said the youth was a loner...

Really? There's a surprise. I wouldn't worry about more of this happening. A couple of nutjobs like this guy and John Walker does not a crisis make. In WW2 we had a whole cabal of American Nazis(they were called the Bund, for the uninitiated) and everything still worked out ok. I wouldn't lose sleep over a couple of suicidal morons.
posted by jonmc at 4:27 PM on January 6, 2002

This is ridiculous. A suicidal 15-year-old mentions Bin Laden and suddenly he's a supporter? It seems more likely that a few reporters have been rushing to get the scoop without respect for the facts or the dead. And can you imagine the further pressure this is going to put on alienated kids in high school? After Columbine everybody who wore a trench coat and didn't try out for the football team got looked at like a potential murderer. Now we're going to have guidance counselors on the lookout for potential terrorists. That sucks.
posted by web-goddess at 4:45 PM on January 6, 2002

If this happened 6 months ago, they'd probably be blaming the media.

A disturbed youth is a disturbed youth. period.
posted by mkn at 4:46 PM on January 6, 2002

Word, mkn. I personally can't wait for them to go through his PC and find he has some of that evil open-source software. He probably listened to complaint rock music too. Damn... This poor kid will be vilified as an anti-American terrorist before he's even buried.
posted by web-goddess at 4:52 PM on January 6, 2002

Wow, the kid opposed US foreign policy so we paint a beard on him and demonize him. We'll never know the whole story, but for now bin Laden is the cause of anything that is inexplicable. This is Amer'ca, we gots to blame somebody.
posted by shagoth at 4:53 PM on January 6, 2002

johnmc: Ted Bundy was an extrovert. Just a reminder.
posted by raysmj at 4:54 PM on January 6, 2002

y'know...it may seem cold but I think all the joke-cracking surrounding this incident is actually a good thing. I mean, this kid thought he was making some kind of grand statement and here we are cracking wise.
Maybe, any potential suicide with dranatic tendencies reading this might say to himself, "Well I was gonna kill myself in grand style, but can't take the idea of my suicidal gesture becoming tommorow's joke fodder." Sounds odd but I think it's a better response than a whole lotta half-baked analysis(which does nothing when you're dealing with the insane) and sober head-nodding.
posted by jonmc at 5:06 PM on January 6, 2002

There's also the tried and true method of not glamorizing suicide by splashing it all over the newspapers. It's the same tactic they used to cut down on streakers at public events: just don't show 'em on television. People are remarkably less likely to do something dramatic if they don't think anybody else is watching.
posted by web-goddess at 5:11 PM on January 6, 2002

...and in the current environment, there's no better way to get everyone's attention than claiming sympathy and support for Osama and Sept. 11.

I think the real news here is how this guy managed to so easily take a Cessna out. I had more trouble borrowing my parent's car in my younger days.
posted by mkn at 5:32 PM on January 6, 2002

Boy, people sure do find it easy to read their own things into this kid.

He wasn't a terrorist. He wasn't a critic of US foreign policy. He wasn't a trenchcoat mafioso. He wasn't geek profiled.

I find it impossible to demonize someone who flies a plane into a building. Isn't that bad enough, shagoth? Boy, not only is he actually dangerous, but he mentioned bin Laden! Uh, no. And as far as the police have let on, he expressed sympathy for bin Laden and the September 11 attacks does not a "critic of US foreign policy" make.

And web-goddess: He wrote the note himself. He wanted us to connect him with mass-murderin' terrorists. This isn't society putting words in his mouth.
posted by dhartung at 5:34 PM on January 6, 2002

When I was fifteen, I thought Ronald Reagan was a pretty neato guy. Goes to show how much weight should be attached to the opinions of 15 year old boys.
posted by Optamystic at 5:39 PM on January 6, 2002

Sad. the kid it seems wanted to take his life and 9/11 supplied him with a method since he was taking flying lessons he had the means.
posted by Postroad at 6:03 PM on January 6, 2002

He wrote the note himself. He wanted us to connect him with mass-murderin' terrorists. This isn't society putting words in his mouth.

Where have you seen this note? I've read about seven news stories, and not one purports to know HOW he gave his supposed support. They're all the same five quotes from the cops and his neighbors, twisted around in different ways. My point was simply that the media are making him sound like a terrorist, when it's possible that what he wrote has been completely misunderstood. Reporters went for the headline rather than waiting to see the evidence for themselves.

And it does seem pretty important to know what he said, if only for personal protection. What do I have to do to be branded a "Osama supporter"? Does it mean simply that I have some sympathy for the plight of Afghan Muslims? Does it mean that I refuse to fly a flag on my car? Do I just have to utter the words "America sucks"? Because if it does, the Taliban witchhunt that will ensue will be far worse than even the Communist-phobic 1950's. It won't be hard for those in power to dig up something to condemn whoever they want.

But maybe I'm blowing everything out of proportion. Like somebody else said, it was just a suicidal 15-year-old.
posted by web-goddess at 6:47 PM on January 6, 2002

I saw a new report this evening that said something like "this incident was so much like the events of September 11..."

um, yeah, right... except it was a loner teenager crashing a tiny plane into a much smaller building and not hurting anyone but himself. They might as well have said that it bares a striking resemblance to the actions of Mathias Rust.

Sensationalism is only diluting the enormity of the surreal events that happened in September.
posted by hotdoughnutsnow at 6:59 PM on January 6, 2002

What do I have to do to be branded a "Osama supporter"?

Wow, someone ate her paranoia flakes this morning. This kind of thinking is what leads to an over-regulated society. Relax, we won't report you to the authorites and you won't be branded a "subversive." Although that may cost you your underground-cred merit badge. Sorry about that.
posted by jonmc at 7:00 PM on January 6, 2002

I'm sorry, I thought that given the original post ("Does Americas enemy lie within") paranoia was justified. In fact, I thought it was the point. Either you're paranoid that the terrorists will destroy America, or you're paranoid that Americans will destroy America.

And I did admit that I might be going overboard. But that's better than sticking your head in the sand.
posted by web-goddess at 7:06 PM on January 6, 2002

But that's better than sticking your head in the sand.

Absolutely true. But the last thing you wanna do is give right-wing paranoiacs an excuse to associate legitimate dissent with terrorist sympathies.
As far as this kid goes, if he was just a stupid, disturbed kid, then my sympathies go out to his family. If he genuinely was an Osama supporter, than the hell with him.
posted by jonmc at 7:11 PM on January 6, 2002

Fair enough. I'd just prefer to judge whether he was a "supporter" from the evidence myself than from the first vague news story that chooses to trumpet an inflammatory headline.
posted by web-goddess at 7:14 PM on January 6, 2002

wow, that may be the most amicably resolved dispute I've ever had on Metafilter. By the way, I checked out your blog(l like to see who I'm dealing with), nice site and you look cute in your hat at the cricket grounds. :)
posted by jonmc at 7:17 PM on January 6, 2002

From flame to flattery in less than five minutes. That MUST be a record. :)
posted by web-goddess at 7:28 PM on January 6, 2002

Could the rampant cynicism and American self-loathing have anything to so with creating children who act out, like Walker and Bishop?

It seems to me that children who constantly hear that their government is a pack of lying bastards and out to get them might just develop some fairly anti-social behavior.

I don't have enough background on these families to apply it to either of these specific cases, but I certainly hear the cynicism from many people both personally and here on MeFi. This is enough to make me wonder just what we are teaching our children.
posted by dewelch at 7:31 PM on January 6, 2002

if only my arguments on metafilter ended with people telling me i looked hot in that turtleneck.
posted by moz at 7:32 PM on January 6, 2002

From flame to flattery in less than five minutes. That MUST be a record. :)

Never was a flame, just me being my usual opinionated self, and complimenting you on ending a dispute without resorting to "you suck" "no, you suck" type of tactics. Which is in keeping with the best of what this site is about.
posted by jonmc at 7:34 PM on January 6, 2002

ok, moz you look hot in that turtleneck but only if you say the mullet I wore in my highschool yearbook is flattering.
posted by jonmc at 7:36 PM on January 6, 2002

Has anybody found the actual text of the note the kid wrote? I'd like to read it and judge for myself.
posted by realjanetkagan at 9:29 PM on January 6, 2002

someone once told me that kids in america get to drive to early and drink too late.

this is just another reason that they shouldnt get to fly at all.
posted by tsarfan at 10:06 PM on January 6, 2002

"Kill your God."
"KILL your TV!"

-- Marilyn Manson
posted by IXOYE at 4:01 AM on January 7, 2002

"At 15 years old you may earn a Florida Learner's Driver's License which must be held for at least 12 months before full licensing until you are 18 years old (effective 10-1-2000), allows daytime driving only (three months after license issuance teen can drive until 10 p.m.) with a licensed driver 21 years or older seated closest to you, is valid for 6 years and renewable. NOTE: Possession of a learner's license does not permit operation of a motorcycle, moped, motor driven cycle or motorized bicycle."

"Bishop, who had taken flight lessons for two years, had gone to the private-plane section of the St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport, accompanied by his mother and grandmother. His instructor left him at the plane to perform a preflight inspection, authorities said. He had no authority to get in the plane alone, a government transportation official said."

With his family's support, Charles J. Bishop began learning to fly airplanes when he was just thirteen years old, long before he could legally learn to drive. It seems to me that something's way out of whack in a country where that happens (and 16 year olds leave high school to go off to Yemen, alone.)
posted by Carol Anne at 5:41 AM on January 7, 2002

When I was 15 the closest I got to ever thinking about foriegn policy was when the Russian janitor at my school would throw the hundreds of tennis, soccer, and baseballs of our school roof to the waiting crowds below.
posted by mantaray at 5:50 AM on January 7, 2002

Could the rampant cynicism and American self-loathing have anything to so with creating children who act out, like Walker and Bishop?

Not sure how you link the cause and effect here, dewelch...

I would imagine that discovering that all politicians are 'lieing bastards out to get you' off your own back would be more demoralising. Especially, if that were in contradiction to what your parents taught you...
posted by asok at 6:43 AM on January 7, 2002

Does Americas enemy lie within?

And some say that GenX pointless irony has died!
posted by HTuttle at 7:08 AM on January 7, 2002

Carol Anne, You can start taking flying lessons at any age but you can't solo until you're 16. You'll always have an instructor with you until you solo.

Most instructors will let the student pre-flight the plane on their own after the first couple of lessons. Pre-flighting the plane requires the keys.

As long as you don't plan on landing, any idiot can steal a Cessna.
posted by bondcliff at 7:24 AM on January 7, 2002

Kip Kinkel, who murdered his parents and shot up his school in Washington State, was the son of teachers who were active in their church and in a variety of community organizations. There's no way to "predict" who will go off the rails, as much as people would like to be able to.

Charles Bishop appears to have been a troubled suicidal kid. If he idolized Osama Bin Laden, it's probably for the same reason that Dylan Klebold idolized Hitler.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:15 AM on January 7, 2002

One less nutjob in the world. Big loss.....
posted by aacheson at 3:19 PM on January 7, 2002

At the end of the story : "During his brief flight, Bishop also flew through restricted airspace over MacDill Air Force Base on the southern tip of Tampa. The U.S. Central Command, which is in charge of the war in Afghanistan, has its headquarters on the base. Two F-15 jets from Homestead Air Reserve Base south of Miami, about 250 miles away, were sent to intercept the Cessna but did not arrive until after it crashed." Shades of Flight 93.
posted by Carol Anne at 4:59 PM on January 7, 2002

One less nutjob in the world. Big loss.....

That's nice. How about one less human in the world, or one less child, or one less family to love and be together? Do those seem like bigger losses? This was a disturbed kid, not a kill-crazy terrorist who should/will be demonized by the media. Besides, if I recall being fifteen correctly, the thing to do is identify what the mainstream adult line of thinking is and then disavow any belief in it. As many said above, I haven't seen the "pro-Bin Laden" proof first hand, but I would be very suprised if this kid had actually made a reasoned evaluation that he believed in the goals and teachings of Muslim extremist groups.
posted by jess at 6:54 PM on January 7, 2002

lets all pray and hope that any one out there, unsatisfied with life does not choose to end it. Wether the person takes some poison drink or flies a plane into a building.

Maybe he just took the plane for a ride and lost control trying to lose the coast guard chopper through tall buildings. :-|
posted by adnanbwp at 11:27 AM on January 8, 2002

Friend Says Teen Pilot Hinted Crash.

Two points seem obvious. First, it's time we stopped condemning as a "tattletale" anyone who goes to a responsible adult on hearing such talk. Second, anyone taking Accutane needs immediate screening for depression.
posted by Carol Anne at 5:25 AM on January 9, 2002

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