Conspiracy theories trivial in long run

You’ve probably heard by now: The attacks on Sept. 11 may be the result of a government conspiracy. And you shouldn’t care.

It becomes clear after looking into the conspiracy theories about Sept. 11, there are many things concerning the attacks that can’t be explained. It disappoints me to see so much effort being put into proving something that is essentially unexplainable.

And for what? Has anything been resolved from the creation of countless documentaries, Web sites and activist groups dedicated to exposing the “truth about Sept. 11?”

I’m not saying these theories aren’t true – they very well might be – and I’m certainly not suggesting in the slightest way that the events of Sept. 11 were trivial. It just seems that it’s diverting attention from more important issues.

There are so many problems that should be more of a priority than uncovering a far-fetched conspiracy that took place six years ago.

Think about how much energy has been put into trying to figure out who killed John F. Kennedy or what happened in Roswell in 1947. What if all that energy were put into solving real problems?

The attention these conspiracy theories have received might be more justified if the evidence were stronger. After considering the arguments presented by Sept. 11 conspiracy theorists, I found myself saying, “That’s an interesting point, maybe you’re right.”

And I think most people who think critically about the theorists’ claims never get past “maybe.”

In the unlikely event that any of these theories were proven true, what difference would it really make? A few government officials might be tried and sentenced. There would be a huge media frenzy. It would probably be the end of the Republican Party, but damage has already been done.

We need to step back and look at what is really important. If we genuinely want to make positive change and do some good, we can’t let our intentions be diverted by searching for unattainable truths.

If you really think the system is flawed enough to allow something so incredibly evil to happen, then focus your energy on something that might actually have a chance at making positive reform.

Figure out what you think government officials are currently doing wrong or figure out what you think is wrong with the current political system and focus your energy on changing those kinds of things, not on developing questionable, six-year-old conspiracy theories.

Stop posting Internet videos analyzing close-ups of low-resolution video stills accompanied by unnerving music in attempts to demonstrate how science can’t explain why certain things happened the way they did.

You will find that the majority of the conspiracy theory arguments are examples of how it’s impossible to scientifically explain why certain things unfolded the way they did during and after the attacks.

They then fill in the holes they have created by pointing out these “unexplainable occurrences” with explanations that make even less sense: It must have been a missile that hit the Pentagon, the collapse of the World Trade Center was a controlled demolition, the videos of the event had to have been doctored in some way, the government collaborated with al-Qaida – the list goes on.

Even in controlled scientific experiments in the best laboratories there are always unexplained phenomena and strange coincidences. So when considering the event in which a plane is flown into a skyscraper, of course there will be unexplainable things.

This doesn’t prove there wasn’t some sort of government conspiracy; it just means the scientific evidence these videos are presenting has very little credibility.

But there are believers.

Thirty-six percent of the American public thinks it is “very likely or “somewhat likely” that federal officials participated in or chose not to stop the attacks on Sept. 11, according to a Scripps Howard/Ohio University poll.

After considering the evidence presented, I might even fall into the “somewhat likely” category, but there are issues we are facing right now that are more than just “somewhat likely.”

Innocent people are suffering and dying all over the world – that’s reality – and while we’re here we can do things to improve it if we stay focused on what’s important.

Being skeptical of authority is good. Asking questions is absolutely essential. But there is no use dwelling on a question when the answer is out of reach.

Alex Zobel is a senior news-editorial journalism major from Albuquerque, N.M.