Saturday, February 01, 2003
I'm in the library now, so no links for a while until I get back to my room. As I'm sure you know, the space shuttle Columbia disintegrated on re-entry this morning around 9AM, EST. On board were six Americans and the first Israeli astronaut. I don't know much more than I've heard on CNN, but all were heroes. The commander had flown several missions before, and was the commander on just his second flight, an impressive accomplishment. The Israeli was a fighter pilot who had fought in the 1973 war and who had taken part in the Israeli destruction of Iraq's nuclear power plant. If you want diversity, this crew had it. In addition to an Israeli Jew, you had a black man and two women, one of whom was an Indian-born naturalized American. Again, I don't have the resources right now to list full information, but I'll add it as soon as I find it. The usual mental perverts are declaring this to be an example of God's wrath and punishment for the "arrogance" of America and Israel. Dean Esmay, in a comment to which I'll link when I update, said rightly that, other than the initial surge of revulsion, we don't feel anything towards these sick people. They're not even worthy of our contempt or pity, and that it's sad to see a "soul choked so full of hate" (my apologies for any mangling).
I'm not angry right now, just sad. We're used to normal people dying in accidents, crime, and terrorism. We're used to our heroes dying fighting for a great cause. We're not used to our heroes dying because their vessel broke.
I offer my sympathy and condolences to the families of both the Columbia and Challenger victims. I know that all of NASA is in shock right now, and I hope they can recover from this, learn from what went wrong, and use that knowledge to honor the memory of these heroes.