July 27, 2013
Can anyone remember there ever being so much attention focused on the survivors of a mass-casualty incident in this country? In the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, there was intense media focus on the events of that day for many, many weeks, but never any mention of those who survived with life-altering injuries. There had to be a number of people who lost limbs that day, or lost their sight or hearing, but we never heard a word about any of them.
We didn’t follow their progress through numerous surgeries, physical therapy, fitting of prosthetic devices, reintegration into their home life, etc.. They didn’t make high-profile appearances on Dancing With the Stars or at major sporting events, and they weren’t interviewed by the likes of Anderson Cooper and Brian Williams. They weren’t the subject of lengthy, front-page newspaper articles and glossy magazine covers.
The same is true of every other mass casualty event in recent memory, whether we’re talking about Littleton, Oklahoma City, Sandy Hook, Virginia Tech, Fort Hood, Aurora, or numerous other such incidents. The only exception to that rule has been when one of the victims happened to be a certain US Congresswoman. Other than that, I can’t recall a single case where the injured survivors of such an attack have become such media darlings.
Why do you suppose that is? Everyone reading this can name at least one of the survivors of the Boston bombings and will be able to do so for a long time to come, but unless it involved a family member or close friend, I seriously doubt that anyone can name a single person who survived the 9-11 attacks with serious bodily injuries. In the past, all the attention has been on the roll call of the dead, but this time our attention is being directed toward the survivors.
But why? What makes them so special? What makes them so much more worthy of our attention – and our money – than survivors of past attacks? Why did they, unlike any of their predecessors, receive massive, no-strings-attached, tax-free payoffs that were paid out in an extraordinarily short period of time?
“The charity fund established after the Boston Marathon bombings awarded $60.9 million Friday to victims of the attacks, including maximum payments of nearly $2.2 million each to two double amputees and the families of the four people slain. Fourteen other people who lost single limbs will receive nearly $1.2 million each. In all, 232 victims will receive payments, said Camille Biros, deputy administrator of the One Fund Boston, which has been collecting public donations for the victims … Sixty-nine people who were hospitalized for at least one night will receive six-figure payouts that range from $125,000 for the 18 people who spent one or two nights in a medical facility to $948,000 for the 10 victims who spent 32 nights or more.”
These amounts were paid out in lump-sum payments on June 28, just two-and-a-half months after the marathon. They were deemed to be ‘gifts,’ which means that they are tax-free. And in an unprecedented move, recipients were not required to sign any waivers barring them from seeking further compensation through the courts. These amounts are also in addition to the not insignificant amounts that alleged victims have raised on their own through personal GoFundMe pages. Jeff Bauman, for example, has reportedly raised over $1,000,000, which means that he has already received over $3,000,000 in tax-free, no-strings-attached cash payments.
For those who believe that Bauman really did lose his legs in the marathon explosions, that surely doesn’t seem like an undue amount of compensation. But consider that Michael Gross, who wandered freely about the blast zone and was clearly uninjured, pocketed a quick $125,000 for his overnight hospital stay. I have little doubt that the Lady in Pink did as well. And our old friend Shrapnel Man (aka James “Bim” Costello), who walked away from the scene unassisted, received a cool “$735,000 under the formula outlined by Biros. He said he was grateful for the donations.” Why wouldn’t he be? He’s also raised at least another $50,000 through GoFundMe, for an untaxed total of nearly $800,000.
“Costello, a clerical worker at Harvard University whose legs were severely burned and wounded by shrapnel from the bomb, said he has good health insurance and would use the money mostly for other needs.” He has $800,000 worth of other needs? Apparently so, with one of those needs being to “buy a new SUV for his friend Paul Norden, who lost his right leg in the attack. Norden’s brother, J.P., also lost a leg, and their wheelchairs do not fit in the brothers’ current vehicle, Costello said.”
Quite a selfless act, needless to say, but also an unnecessary one given that the Norden brothers received just over $2.5 million from the One Fund and their own GoFundMe pages, which will probably be enough to cover the cost of a new vehicle.
Like so many of the alleged victims of the Boston bombings, Costello and the Norden brothers spent a good deal of time at the city’s Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, which has been frequently referenced in countless feel-good stories about the remarkable recoveries of the ‘Boston Strong’ victims. But one rather curious fact about the facility has been all but lost amid the coverage: it is a brand new 300,000 square foot, $220,000,000 facility that just opened its doors on April 27, 2013, just twelve days after the marathon bombings.
Just in time, in other words, to take in the marathon victims as presumably some of its very first patients. And that is probably a good thing since you don’t really want your fake patients to be mingling too much with your real patients. The 132-bed hospital, as it turns out, is located in the decommissioned Charlestown Navy Yard. Sounds about right.
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So I’m guessing that there must be a special ‘debunking’ school out there that all the fucktards on the internet must have attended. I say that because another ‘debunker’ has now emerged from the fetid slime to offer up essentially the same bullshit that others have already tried to pass off as good coin. In fact, much of it reads like a cut-and-paste job that combines Quinn’s Orwellian logic with Fucktard’s overwrought appeals to emotion.
This new ‘debunking’ – and I am using the term ‘new’ rather loosely here because though the piece is dated July 20, it reads as though it were written back around the first week of May and treats my series as though it began and ended with the initial two posts on May 1 – was penned, albeit very poorly penned, by a guy by the name of Keelan Balderdash.
Though Balderdash apparently fancies himself to be a writer and editor, his grasp of the English language seems tenuous at best. As just one example, while commenting on Carlos the cowboy hero, he gives us the following two brilliantly constructed sentences: “And what exactly is he acting? How to looked shocked and a bit confused?” I don’t know that I have seen that caliber of writing since my youngest daughter was in about the fifth grade.
Anyway, Balderdash has, like Quinn, taken a decidedly Orwellian approach to debunking my work. He begins by boldly stating that he hasn’t actually read my series: “As I write this sentence I have yet to engage with the series beyond a quick scan, thus I’ve titled this article a ‘review’ instead of a ‘debunking.’” It’s actually neither a review nor a debunking but rather a craven hit piece that utilizes the same ‘talking points’ already trotted out by others. But what is important here is that he is claiming to have not even bothered to read my posts.
If I may be so bold, I’d say that Balderdash’s claim basically translates as follows: “I’ve read through McGowan’s work and there is no way that I can even begin to ‘debunk’ the body of evidence that he has put together without coming off sounding like a complete asshat, but my paymasters are insisting that I give it a go so I’m going to just copy off of some other people’s failed ‘debunkings’ and pretend as though about 90% of the research he has done over the last few months doesn’t exist.”
Not long after acknowledging that he is ‘reviewing’ something he claims to have not read, Balderdash declares that theorists such as myself “want to be ignorant, because it suits their agenda.” He then proceeds to describe me throughout his post as “willfully ignorant,” which is quite a ballsy statement coming from someone who begins his piece by admitting that he chose to approach this topic from a position of willful ignorance. Methinks this guy and Joe Quinn must be trading handjobs out behind the woodshed.
I’m not going to bother responding to most of Balderdash’s feeble arguments, primarily because I already have – when they were originally penned by Quinn and Fucktard. I will though catalogue some of Balderdash’s more egregious lies and misrepresentations, beginning with this one: “this is the problem with a lot of the Boston bombings theories. They are based on ambiguous interpretations of a handful of photographs.”
The reality, of course, is that to date I have presented into evidence and analyzed no fewer than 216 photographic exhibits. Balderdash’s attempt to dismiss all of that clearly reveals that he is either “willfully ignorant” or simply a brazen liar. And since it is readily apparent that he is feigning ignorance to try to avoid being caught in an outright lie, let’s just cut to the chase and acknowledge that this guy is a lying sack of shit. He strikes me as a guy who has spent his entire adult life trying to convince any woman who will listen that 4 inches is really 8 inches.
In this next short passage, Balderdash manages to squeeze in a couple more very obvious lies: “This lady in blue, named as Krystle Campbell, died. You can see her laying [sic] legless near Bauman and so called [sic] “accomplices” in the photo below. Another man in the middle (towards the top) of the photo has a serious leg wound. Why is McGowan ignoring these people?”
As the photographic record makes very clear, Campbell was not lying legless. Had Balderdash done even the most rudimentary research, he would have known that. The other guy he is referring to is, of course, The Other Jeff, aka Patrick Downes, but Balderdash either has no clue who any of these people are or he is just a compulsive liar. The notion that I ignore Campbell and The Other Jeff in my series is without question yet another absurd lie. Balderdash’s audience, to the extent that he even has one, is apparently quite gullible.
Since Balderdash is such an entertainingly ridiculous figure, let’s take a look at some more of his completely nonsensical and very poorly-written commentary: “The aftermath of a bombing is a very shocking and confusing time, there’s no telling what was going through the minds of those in the photo, but creating a baseless theory is not going to enlighten us any further. That being said there isn’t a constant stream of photos.” There isn’t?! Really? So the scores of sequential photos that I have presented exist only in my mind? Or is this just another example of Balderdash talking out of his ass?
Let’s now listen in as Balderdash tells some more lies, this time about the heroic rescue of Jeff Bauman by Carlos Arredondo: “But why is it ridiculous that he’s in a wheelchair? If that’s the only thing his rescuers could come by in that immediate instance, so be it … If you’ve followed the story you’ll know that Arredondo tied up his arteries and can be seen holding on to the end of one of them.”
Actually, if you’ve followed the story you know that even Arredondo has attempted to distance himself from the ridiculous claim that he was pinching shut one of Bauman’s femoral arteries. You also know that the notion that a wheelchair was “the only thing his rescuers could come by” has been completely and thoroughly debunked. You know that Carlos and company can be seen pushing Bauman right past an empty gurney and that several other gurneys had already left the scene. The ‘debunkers’ though seem to think that if they keep repeating the same easily refuted lies that it will somehow make them true.
It is quite revealing, needless to say, that those who have chosen to attack this series have needed to resort to the same tired lies over and over. If my research is so shoddy, and if the conclusions I have drawn are so ridiculous, then why has no one been able to put together even a halfway honest challenge to it? Why must they still pretend that the case for this being a staged incident begins and ends with a handful of photos of Jeff Bauman? Why must people like Balderdash so grossly misrepresent my work with comments like the following: “Nobody saw ‘crisis actors’ lugging around props, getting in to [sic] position or applying their injury make-up [sic], but we’re expected to believe McGowan has managed to pick them out through a few photos?”
And why does Balderdash, with his distinctively mangled grammar and syntax, characterize my work as using “a lot of photos and some video [sic] that are in the public domain to pick [sic] tiny irrelevant discrepancies in people’s accounts”? When virtually every alleged victim and every responder has told wildly imaginative tales that are completely unsupported by the photographic evidence, does it seem fair to dismiss all of that as nitpicking (I’m assuming that’s the word he was going for, but who the fuck knows?) “tiny irrelevant discrepancies”? And did I use “a lot of photos” or “a few photos”? Balderdash can’t seem to decide.
Speaking of nitpicking, Balderdash feels that I am guilty of nitpicking Arredondo’s account as well, though he of course doesn’t know how to write the word properly: “How nit-picky can you get? So the Hero of the day didn’t immediately get to Bauman like he said in an interview, he was busy trying to get there. Well it looks like he got there as fast as possible! … The gist of his story is correct.”
No, Balderdash, the ‘gist’ of his story is total bullshit, just as is the ‘gist’ of your semiliterate rant.