On the Upper West Side of Manhattan, there is a memorial to firefighters who have given their lives in the line of duty. For ten years, hundreds of firefighters in dress uniform have congregated here, to honor their colleagues who climbed towards danger in the World Trade Center trying to help others to safety.
For several days after the collapse of the twin towers, New York City fireboats supplied the only water available to the site. This demonstrated the importance of the City's marine firefighting capability. Since that time, New York City has a critical new addition to its fleet – Fireboat Three-Forty-Three, named for the 343 firefighters who gave their lives on September 11. Fireboat Three-Forty-Three berths on the same pier that is to become the beachhead of a new, high-pressure, interstate gas pipeline.
Since September 11, we have been subject to an Orwellian, eternal "War on Terror" in which our country suspends habeus corpus, employs torture techniques from the Spanish Inquisition, and exports "suspects" to the likes of Syria for an even worse fate. We are asked as citizens to give up our privacy and personal freedoms, and be subject to Kafkaesque ordeals like secret, unaccountable "national security letters". After all, we have to guard against more terrorist threats, right?
So how is it that New York City is allowing an explosive gas main to be built steps away from Fireboat Three-Fifty-Three? What a juicy target for those foreign terrorists – a chance to incinerate a playground full of children, residential buildings full of people, a major transportation artery – West Street -- full of commuters, AND at the same time take out 50% of the City's maritime firefighting capability.
Last Thursday, City police arrested two unarmed women who dared to sit in a pit in an attempt to slow down the construction of the gas main. But how is it that gas transporters are allowed to build this dangerous infrastructure?
I took a walk on the pier to see what the men of Fireboat Three-Forty-Three think of this. Turns out, the men of Three-Forty-Three have been told nothing about what is being constructed on their pier. They first found out what is being built from a newspaper report after the two women being arrested.
Gas transporters are extending dangerous, vulnerable gas main into a densely populated area, to bring to market exactly the wrong source of energy for our times. Nobody bothers to tell first responders – firefighters of all people – who are well within the pipeline’s blast zone should there be an accident or intentional act. And who gets arrested? Two women who oppose this bizarre pipeline.
This speaks volumes about what the threat perception really is.
@Tsentropa lives on the upper west site of Manhattan, a few blocks below the memorial to firefighters