Wednesday, December 19, 2007

That EOB / Executive Office Building Fire: What's the Big Deal?

As it happened, the EOB / Executive Office Building (more officially, the EEOB, or Eisenhower Executive Building) fire this morning was a relatively minor event. I haven't heard how much damage was done, but only one person got hurt: and the Marine who made a hole in a fifth-floor window with his hands was treated and released.

I wrote quite a long post about the event, earlier this morning.

So, why would I spend so much time on a relatively minor event?
  • It was an attention-grabbing event, and it grabbed my attention.
  • This was a very good 'live-fire' exercise for some people in Washington.
    • The people in the EOB evacuated calmly and effectively. Yes, that includes the U.S. Marine. He was on the fifth floor, had a fire of unknown extent between him and the ground, and made use of the tools on hand - literally - to make an alternative exit. Getting everyone out of an office building with two miles of corridors smoothly and swiftly is no small feat.
    • Emergency responders did a good job, getting a dozen or so vehicles and their crews into a relatively cramped area in minutes.
  • We got a good look at some aspects of how news coverage works.
    • Reporters don't always get it right. Secret Service Agents Keeping Firefighters Out of Burning Building was the gist of the early report. A reality check (by the same reporter) indicated that the agents were making sure that the firefighters really were firefighters - a sensible precaution.
    • News is what happens around reporters. This relatively minor fire got heavy coverage in no small part because it happened across the street from the White House, where reporters are as thick as mosquitoes in a Minnesota summer.
Now, the news:

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.