Editorial — March 18, 2014

Staff ~ The Prince Albert Daily Herald
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People have an enduring fascination with mysteries.

And failing a mystery, they are even willing to concoct ridiculous conspiracies when the truth clearly points in a certain direction.

As the search continues for Malaysia Air Flight 370, both of those ideas are in play.

The flight went missing on March 8 with 227 passengers and 12 crew on board.

It was the first time that many of us learned that are dead spots in the world’s radar and that a jet can “disappear” in, ahem, plain sight.

If you’ve visited the message boards and comment sections on any number of websites, you’ll discover that many people know exactly what happened to the plane.

Or at least they think they do.

Our favourite conspiracy theory so far is the idea that aliens ran off with the entire jet and all of the people on board.

Other more plausible theories -- but equally unproven -- include the usual assortment such as hijacking, weather, catastrophic mechanical breakdown, pilot error or even decompression that left everybody unconscious.

If you remember how professional golfer Payne Stewart died -- cruising across America in a jet with everyone unconscious until the plane crashed in a field in South Dakota -- it’s an awful fate to contemplate.

Because this plane has utterly vanished, some other theories have also come forward.

A scary one is the thought of suicide by the pilot, which has happened before. One expert that has been interviewed thinks this is the most likely explanation for the weird confluence of events that followed, including someone turning off the aircraft’s transponder.

We’ve also heard a meteor collision mentioned, which would make those 237 people among the unluckiest in the planet’s history.

There’s a wonderful expression that suggests that when all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. That means some of our far-right friends down in the United States have found a way to link to President Barack Obama.

Others have linked the plane’s disappearance to North Korea or Uighur separatists from China.

Some have conjured up visions of Flight 19, five torpedo bombers that famously disappeared over the Bermuda Triangle on Dec. 5, 1945 with the los of 14 men. That tragedy was later compounded when one of the planes looking for them exploded, killing 13 more men.

Amelia Earhart’s disappearance in 1937 somewhere in the South Pacific is also an enduring mystery.

You’ll get an A+ if you thought of the obscure disappearance of Norwest Orient Flight 2501 that disappeared with 58 people on board over Lake Michigan in 1950.

We have a contemporary arrogance about the worthiness of our machines and our ability to track them at all times.

The thought of the breakdown of those machines or the people who operate them is a little too much to handle for many.

Regardless of whether the 239 souls on board Flight 370 magically turn out to be OK in a weird hijacking or if they died hours after the plane began to act erratically, the lesson remains the same.

When our faith is completely put in technology, it won’t ever be long before it’s proven to be misplaced.

 

Prince Albert Daily Herald

Organizations: Malaysia Air Flight 370, Prince Albert, Daily Herald

Geographic location: United States, South Dakota, North Korea Uighur China South Pacific Lake Michigan

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