The Challenger Challenge


A blog I visit often has a post up about the anniversary of the Space Shuttle Challenger “disaster”. It was hardly original or alone in the web world as many other entities tried to pull some value out of one of the most contrived “disasters” of US history.

When you strap yourself into a rocket you are accepting an infinite and definite set of risks not the least of which is fiery death. That the shuttle program had become much like earlier NASA programs (Apollo) a boring routine is undeniable. That the use of publicity stunt shenanigans like putting a school teacher onboard was simply press bite candy for the masses is equally undeniable.

The explosion of the Challenger is memorialized by many and like a number of historical events the reality is that it is a manipulation of ones mind and soul.

The Challenger exploded. It was not a Hollywood production financed by shadowy government agencies. It DID blow up killing the crew! The crew is not on a private estate with the 9/11 passengers and Sandy Hook kids enjoying themselves. Still far and away from just those two incidents Challenger is unworthy of eternal angst and contemplation.

My challenge to anyone who reads this post is simple. Make a case that the shuttle explosion and death of its seven passengers somehow compares to the following events:

  1. Pearl Harbor attack
  2. Shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary
  3. 9/11/2001 attacks
  4. TWA Flight 800 July 1996
  5. AA Flight 587 Nov. 2001

Personally my Challenger memory is that after becoming so sick of the run up I wished it would blow up. Many people including my own mother scorned me afterwards with snide remarks such as “you got your wish”. At no time was the vaporization of Christa McAuliffe & Co. a moving moment and yes oh yes I laughed at the jokes such as “what was the last thing McAuliffe said…”Don’t touch this button”?” I acknowledged it for what it all was. A loss of an expensive ship,a side step for a sputtering space program and a suck deal for the loved ones who had to watch their loved ones go poof. The truth is though that from the moment President Reagan rendered his televised speech I also adopted an attitude that this was an event being manipulated for other purposes. I don’t like that kind of shit and that only reenergized my earlier ill regard for Challenger.

So there it is folks. The gauntlet is tossed down. And for the record February 1st marks the 13th anniversary of the Columbia burn up. You want to talk about a shuttle disaster talk about that one. They probably knew and felt the happening whereas Challenger blinked and was gone.