Sunday, March 26, 2006


Dear Indigna,

I just read in the paper (Contra Costa Times, March 14, 2006, p. A3) about this guy who wants to put a memorial in a field in California. He claims it was the site of “this nation’s first suicide terrorist attack,” in 1964. Apparently the “terrorist” in question was a guy with gambling debts who shot the pilot and co-pilot of the plane he was on, causing it to crash into this field and killing everyone on board, in hopes that his life insurance would bail out his family.

This guy’s design for the memorial consists of a phone booth and a trash can. The phone booth is a nod to the booth the investigators installed in this field for communications (they took it down after they were done). The trash can, in his words, “symbolizes all that was left of the plane and its passengers after the accident.”

Now, the field in question is in the process of being developed with suburban housing, and the exact location he wants to use for this memorial is privately owned. The owner intends to sell his land to the developer for millions of dollars.

Should government be allowed to use imminent domain for this purpose? It seems so unjust.

Livermore, CA

P.S. This guy lives someplace called Drain, OR. Is that relevant?

Dear Incredulous,

I think it’s a terrific idea. I’m sure the survivors of that tragedy will be greatly comforted to know that their loved ones are memorialized by a trash can.

I certainly do believe the government should use every means necessary to secure this piece of our nation’s history, the significance of which has only become clear since 9/11. Who knew Saddam and bin Laden were already working on their evil plot in 1964?


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