It’s been a great week, conversationally speaking.
My ‘obsession,’ (the word of my teenagers,) with the Malaysian Airliner Mystery has stimulated creativity in everyone I’ve talked to.
My first involvement was a scouring remark I found myself writing to scold an inconsiderate photographer who sold his/her visual invasion of a grieving family in Beijing to Reuters. Who is being served by this? And that was from me, who had to cover seven homicide trials in my first year reporting — as well as the horrific crash of an airplane into a lake in view of a crowd. An airplane with eight people on board, which the searchers determined by counting teeth found in mud.
Sensitivity is a delicate subject because no one knows what it feels like to be waiting for a brother, a mother, a child to arrive at the airport when the announcement is made … except those families. But it’s no mystery that these people are suffering in a real way.
We do not know whether the passengers suffered, are suffering, will suffer more. Conspiracy theorists are exploring that realm beyond my interest level. When I heard the theory that the pilot took the plane to 45,000 feet in order to kill all the passengers, I felt sick.
I felt sick all day.
The mystery of why humans, no, how humans can justify such actions before their image of god is unsavory at best, conversationally void regardless. It is not a mystery we’ll solve.
To me one mystery worth discussing is the behavior of the Malaysian government. And the challenge of interpreting the press releases from the Malaysian government..
Why didn’t Hummaammannnimumann Hussein just say “we cannot tell you what we know because if the hijackers know that we know it, our position – in negotiations or in the search — could be compromised.”
Hello? How stupid are we really?
But two moments of delight arose from what is likely to shape up as a horrific tragedy, but for now is still a mystery.
I am writing about it now, on Sunday afternoon, March 16, to preserve this moment before the plane is found (maybe it will never be found …) to enjoy, yes enjoy, contemplating the best-case-scenarios.
I thought maybe we could take conspiracy theory a new direction.
What if that 27-year-old pilot’s fiancee’ was aboard and he has (present tense because hey, it is still possible…) realized that deserted islands still exist in the Indian Ocean and that quite probably, 237 others might not really mind too much losing contact with their realities for a few weeks or months to take a vacation. Maybe he scoped out an old WW II runway, set the autopilot on its coordinates and drugged his copilot. Maybe.
The other moment of delight came from the peeps at Digital Globe, the Colorado company who set up the crowdsource search. I personally spent at least three hours this week feeling that I was helping those families in Beijing and the Keller family here at home, by searching thousands of frames of satellite images. The actual searching reminded me of an early video game called “Spermatazoid” to which I became quickly addicted. But also it reminded me of the lottery.
Once I found my first ship, I was sunk. I had to keep looking. But I am older and wiser now and I know the lottery as an IQ tax. Still, those families waiting .…
So the best-case-scenario having been laid out, I will now share my favorite theories. You will not have heard these before and none is as macabre as reality is likely to be.
The first one comes from Ivar, the Johns Hopkins undergrad who is spending spring break on my couch because his other plans fell through.
He says the plane was flown to Somalia where its passengers were sold. I reflected on what we know. Many passengers are skilled artisans, calligraphers. Also, a bunch of techies are aboard, as well as a couple tech spies, people convicted of corporate espionage. Those skills are valuable.
But Ivar’s greatest theory is that the missing plane is a result of what he calls ‘guerrilla marketing gone wrong.’
It was all a scheme by someone, say, Coca-cola (call me before you sue me and I’ll change the name), who staged, at the expense of hiring 239 actors, chartering a plane etc. to have the entire lot of them rescued from the barren island where they washed up, saved by an errant pallet of Coke that happens to float by, flotsam among the jetsam.
Jetsam? Did I say that?
I should quit now.