Denver Post Staff Columnist
They have been meeting in the basement of Hooked on Colfax bookstore for a year, piecing together facts they have learned about what they consider to be the biggest cover-up in American history.
They believe the federal government had a hand in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
You think they’re crazy? Some of their friends think so too.
“This is hard for people. They don’t want to believe our government could do this,” said Dorothy, one of the regulars. “They call you crazy and nuts, and it gets to you.”
But here in the basement, a capacity crowd of 30 people, sitting on oversized couches and wooden chairs, they find solace among other believers.
Members of Colorado911Visibility.org include psychologists, lawyers, civil engineers, electrical engineers, an aerospace engineer, physicists and lots of people with doctorates and master’s degrees in the sciences. They’re well-read people, and
they understand why people want to dismiss them. They say people want to attack them as messengers because it’s too disturbing to believe the government that is supposed to protect us would orchestrate the deaths of more than 3,000 Americans.
Tim Boyle, one of the organizers, invited three scholars to speak yesterday in Denver and today in Boulder to “take this out of the realm of conspiracy theory.” (Get details at denverpost bloghouse.com/rodriguez.)
The year-old group has an e-mail list of about 350 people. Among them is Earl Staelin, a 66-year-old civil litigator who lives in Littleton.
He started attending the meetings, held at 7 p.m. the third Friday of every month, after watching a film about 9/11 at his church, First Universalist Church of Denver.
He said the movie made convincing arguments why researchers believe the World Trade Center towers fell by controlled demolition. About an hour after the planes hit the towers, a series of explosions was seen and heard in floors below the crash areas, and then both towers came down, each in less than 10 seconds and in a free-fall manner consistent with planned demolitions.
“It’s the kind of thing that is very disturbing if it’s true,” Staelin told me. “The responsible thing for us to do is ask questions, but it takes a long time to get familiar with all the information to understand what happened.”
He said many of his friends who are engineers didn’t believe the official story, that the towers fell because burning fuel from the planes caused the steel beams of the buildings to buckle. After he showed films, such as “9-11 Mysteries: Demolitions,” they came to the same conclusion: demolition experts must have planned this in advance.
Why would the government do it? The explanations are plentiful, as is the evidence that groups such as this one, which exist throughout the nation, pore over and share on such websites as 911truth.org.
And for those who say these groups are wacko fringe groups, think again: According to a poll by the Scripps Survey Research Center at Ohio University taken this August, 36 percent of Americans believe the government was either complicit in the 9/11 attacks or knew about it and didn’t try to stop it. And 16 percent believe explosives were used to bring down the towers.
To Fran Shure, another organizer of the group, the poll is proof that a growing number of people are seeing the inconsistencies of the official story. Still, she said people want to dismiss them as conspiracy theorists.
“The term ‘conspiracy theory’ is derogatory. It labels us as people who are not worth being listened to,” said Shure, a 63-year-old psychotherapist. “It’s a strategy of attack the messenger so you don’t have to listen to it. It’s a way of psychologically protecting one’s world view.”
Cindy Rodríguez’s column appears Tuesdays and Sundays. Read Cindy’s blog at denverpostbloghouse.com/ rodriguez