A Parable For
Understanding 911

By Mark Robinowitz
Imagine a hypothetical situation where a team of vicious thieves plots an exceptionally violent bank robbery in the downtown financial district of a major city. Numerous anomalies are noticed during the commission of this crime.

The bank tellers are not able to send out an alarm to the police even though banks have numerous hidden silent alarms for foiling robbery.

The police take an extraordinarily long amount of time to show up on the scene, despite an unblemished record of fast response to prior robberies.

The cops who do eventually respond are not dispatched from the nearest police station, but from a suburban police force many miles away that travels far below emergency speeds to intercept the robbers.

The criminals are business partners of the chief of police and the Mayor. The Mayor's youngest brother is a director of the company providing security to the bank, and the City's comptroller (in charge of the money) came from a company in charge of remotely accessing the bank's electronics (which could explain the lack of transmission of an alarm at the start of the robbery).

The City Council passes new laws immediately after the robbery to crack down on the financial freedoms of the town's citizens, using the pretext that the police had an "intelligence failure" caused by inadequate budgets and inability of different departments to properly communicate with each other.

The newspapers report that nearby towns warned the police that the robbery was about to happen, but never collect all of these warnings into one report to show the overwhelming evidence that the City's elite deliberately allowed the robbers to act unhindered.

Despite these prior warnings, the police act surprised when notified it was underway. The commander of the nearest police station continues working at his desk despite the robbery across the street. The Mayor is holding a photo opportunity at a nearby elementary school, and continues reading to second graders even after his assistant whispers in his ear that bank robbers had just committed the largest mass murder in the city's history.

The region's liberal, "alternative" newspaper that had previously published accurate reports about the Mayor's corruption scandals attacks independent journalists who dare to describe these anomalies.

The police forces of the city and nearby cities were following the robbers before their assault on the bank, and the identity of the robbers (as declared by police spokespersons after the fact) is disputed by press accounts that several of the robbers have good alibis for being in other cities at the time.

Finally, long after the fact, information surfaces that the police were conducting practice exercises simulating official response to bank robbers. Some of the responding officers were away at this "war game" at the police training academy and therefore were unable to apprehend the perpetrators. The honest cops who were in the station were confused by other drills simulating robberies at the other banks in the city, drills that were scheduled by the top political and police leadership of the city at the same time as the real robberies, which made it difficult for the honest cops to determine which bank to protect until after the crimes were completed.



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