A look back at the events of 9/11/01 is as much about analyzing how it forever changed us politically, as it is about how we tell the story. Countless historians, politicians and theologians have attempted to make sense of it, employing political, philosophical and religious analyses to explain it. But how can a tragedy of such magnitude ever be satisfactorily explained? It's no coincidence that the decade following 9/11 has arguably brought the largest flurry of conspiracy theories in US history, with everyone getting some share of the blame at some point, from rogue elements of the American government to Israel. A Scripps-Howard poll from 2007 found that 37% of respondents believed that it was “very likely” that some people in the federal government had specific warnings of the 9/11 attacks but chose to ignore those warnings. Websites, documentaries, conventions, protests, and movements have all developed in the past decade built around the belief that something even more nefarious and insidious than a group of hijackers armed with box cutters was responsible for 9/11. From where did these theories spring? No retrospective of 9/11 can ignore the vast number of conspiracy theories generated by 9/11's wake. Patt reviews some of those and talks with a behavioral psychologist about the role conspiracy theories have played in Americans' collective memory of 9/11.
Ilan Shrira, social psychologist at the University of Florida in Gainsville & author of the paper “Paranoia, 9/11 and the roots of conspiracy theories,” published in Psychology Today