Tuesday, October 2, 2001

KFWB radio reporting for Tuesday, October 2nd, 2001


Welcome to the three-week mark, and to the city of post-traumatic stress disorders.

There are no statistics to support this yet, but the anecdotal evidence is overwhelming. Besides the general grief, two principal psychological problems here are now being reported by analysts and other health care professionals in remarkable quantities. Many relatives and friends of survivors, the therapists say, are frozen in the moment of their last disagreement with those missing or dead even if it wasn't their last contact. If you had a fight with them as one psychologist explained it to me - a part of you can't shake the idea that you had some kind of anger toward them... and that emotion was shared by the terrorists who had some kind of anger toward them, too.

This leads into the second problem: what they call, informally, the I-Caused-It-Syndrome. Earlier this year, an executive at one of the decimated World Trade Center companies, planned to leave the firm. A colleague said he'd quit with him. No, said the first man, stay a few months longer and take them for every dime you can make.

The man who stayed, was killed.

The man who left, is now part of an extraordinarily large group of devastated survivors. If there are 6,000 victims, there are 60,000 who, rationally or otherwise, think they helped to kill them.


How, in the near future and in the long term, will the events of these three weeks affect public gatherings here?

For the second consecutive night, the city's baseball teams are both playing home games, the Yankees in the Bronx, the Mets here in Queens. Last night the Yankees had their smallest crowd in seven seasons 8,000. The Mets did worse 6,300, their smallest crowd in just over a decade. To be fair, neither game was originally scheduled for last night. Neither game was of intrinsic baseball interest the Mets, in fact, had just dropped out of the pennant race. And it was cold about 50 degrees.

On the other hand, it was colder Sunday afternoon and 55,000 went to the Bronx for the last game of visiting Baltimore star Cal Ripken. And six of the other eight games played here since the attacks drew at least 41,000.

History suggests that at times of national emergency, sports attendance and broadcast audiences hold at a minimum of 85 percent. But peripheral elements like sports media plummet, and in general, the fan raises the bar if the timing, the weather, and the importance of the game aren't all good, he may stay home.

It's warm tonight 71 at game time this'll give us a better feel for things. As they began play, there were fewer than 5,000 in the seats.