May 3rd, 2011
‘Death and destruction are not the answers’
Widow, friend in Shelburne Falls reflect on killing of bin Laden
By DIANE BRONCACCIO Recorder Staff
SHELBURNE FALLS — “I do not celebrate bin Laden’s death, ” said Jessica Murrow of Shelburne Falls, whose husband died in the Sept. 11, 2001, World Trade Center attack. “Too many questions left unanswered,” she wrote on her Facebook page Monday. “Death and destruction are not the answers.”
On Sept. 11, 2001, Murrow and 51-year old Steve Adams were living in New York City. Adams had just been promoted to beverage manager in the Windows on the World restaurant on the 107th floor of the World Trade Center, and Sept. 11 was the first day of his new job. Adams was at work when the planes struck.
Those closest to Adams — Murrow of Shelburne Falls, and Fred DeVecca of Conway — don’t feel any sense of relief or closure in knowing that the 9/11 “mastermind” is gone.
Murrow happened to be in New York City this weekend when the announcement came out that bin Laden was killed by U.S. forces in Pakistan.
“I think it was harder (to receive the news) here, in New York,” said Murrow, who was driving home Monday. “They didn’t stop — on the radio or television — they didn’t stop talking about it. Then, they started showing the World Trade Center blowing up again.”
Murrow said she never wanted the U.S. to take the vengeful stance that was taken. “From the get-go, I was opposed to this reaction,” she said. “I spoke about (9/11) as an opportunity to join with other countries and find out what this terrorism is all about.”
Murrow said she thought the Commission on 9/11 “was an absolute fraud.”
“We’ve never known what, underneath the surface of things, was going on,” she said. “So by killing (bin Laden), that ends any possibility of interrogating him and finding out what this was about.” Not that bin Laden would have answered truthfully, Murrow added, but “it’s one more nail in the investigation’s coffin.”
“I was frankly horrified by the reaction I saw on television — of people climbing up flagpoles and cheering,” she said. “It’s just more of the same: it’s anger; it’s hatred; it’s ignorance.”
Murrow who worked on the set of television’s “Good Morning America” until 2003, said she tried to get on Monday morning’s show, to voice her opinion — but was unable to do so. “I went down there to see if I could say: Hey, what are you cheering about? It just doesn’t compute.”
She said she understands the reaction to bin Laden’s demise and even understands why people are happy about it. “I’m not happy or sad, but I’m frustrated that it’s more of the same, of the way this country reacts. This is what breeds hatred, what breeds religious fanaticism.”
Murrow belongs to a group called September 11th Families for a Peaceful Tomorrow — a group of about 250 family members of 9/11 victims, who want justice and accountability through nonviolent means.
“I’m not in favor of anybody’s death,” said Murrow. “And I especially don’t see the benefit of television cameras showing Americans standing on poles, cheering and waving because the man is dead.”
DeVecca was a long-time friend of Steve Adams, who lived in Franklin County for many years before moving to New York. Besides their friendship, DeVecca and Adams were long-time Morris dancers, as was another 9/11 victim: Chris Carstanjen of Turners Falls.
Carstanjen, a 33-year-old computer research specialist at the University of Massachusetts, was aboard one of the hijacked planes that struck the World Trade Center. When asked, DeVecca said the news of bin Laden’s death “really doesn’t mean anything to me. I lost two guys on the Morris team,” he said. “Steve was my best friend.”
DeVecca said he’d “made the mistake” of listening to talk radio programs Monday, in which callers expressed regret that bin Laden wasn’t tortured, or that “he got off too easily.”
“Even on Sept. 11th — in the middle of all that — I never wanted retribution or revenge,” he said. “What’s the point of it?”
“That bin Laden died means nothing to me. It doesn’t change anything.”