Sears Tower jitters and hang gliders

Sears Tower jitters and hang gliders

Sears Tower jitters and hang gliders

Sears Tower
Sears Tower - Chicago

On my recent trip to the USA, I was interested to hear that
there was a very tall building called the Sears Tower in Chicago. The
Tribune-Democrat,
from Johnstown, Pennsylvania, had headlines, which
interested me:

"Workers jittery at Sears Tower. Tallest U.S. building a
likely target -– Every day, Nick Munson and a co-worker see planes out the
window of their office on the 48th floor of the Sears Tower and
wonder: Is this one coming at us?

'I get visions of the World Trade Centre and think it could
happen,' Munson said. 'It's tough to concentrate.'

In the month since two hijacked airliners slammed into the
twin towers of the World Trade Centre, the lives of people who make their living
inside skyscrapers have changed. That is altogether clear at the 110-story
Sears Tower, the nation's tallest building
.

For all the talk about not letting terrorists dictate the way
they live and work, many of the 10,000 people who work at the tower are looking
out the window nervously or wondering if a terrorist will find a way to get past
the concrete barriers that now ring the building below.

'I used to joke that I worked in the largest terrorist
target,' said Jerry Palm, a computer analyst with the Bank of America who
works on the 28th floor. 'I don't joke about it any more.'

Workers have commended the building's management company
for the quick way it knocks down rumors. Still, there is a suspicion among some
that when it comes to information, they're being kept in the dark.

For example, there was the rumor that there was a bomb in a
truck parked just outside the building.

'The FBI denied the story, but the next day there were
concrete barriers up,' said Rebecca Gates, an assistant in a management
company on the 53rd floor.

Workers said they appreciate the news security measures, from
the checking of bags to the concrete barriers. But some wonder if any of it
matters.

'If anyone wants at us, they'll get us,' Palm said.

Some companies looking for office space apparently figure
the prestige afforded by such a famous address isn't worth it
.

'I can tell you people that have been considering moving in
have started looking for less high-profile locations,' said Mike Conway, the
president of officedirectory.com, which helps find office for companies and
tenants for buildings. 'It's not just the Sears Tower, but across the board
buildings that have the highest recognition, people are a little bit shy of them
right now.'"

Here's an article sent to us, entitled Israel Line,
8 November 2001, with the headline: "Israel to export hang gliders to US
skyscraper residents
-– According to Israeli parachute manufacturer Apco
Aviation, Israel will export thousands of hang gliders to residents of tall
apartment buildings and skyscrapers in the United States, The Jerusalem Post
reported. Apco developed small, simple-to-use hang gliders that allow occupants
of tall buildings to safely exit buildings in danger without having to use
elevators or stairwells.

Insurance rates for multi-story buildings and high rise
office buildings in the United States have increased dramatically since the
September 11 attacks. A Chicago-based insurance company recommended the hang
gliders to clients, offering a discount on its rates for companies purchasing
the devices for employees.

John Rivers, manager of the US-based Destiny
Powered-Parachute Company, told IDF Radio that his company recently ordered over
100 personal hang gliders, and is planning to purchase several hundred more in
the near future."

Here is a story of two men having a chat about their hobbies
and one of them said that he used to go hang gliding but had given it up.

When his friend asked why this was, he said that he used to
jump off the cliffs and soar on the thermals with the seagulls and was going
quite well, but became discouraged when he found himself circling the rubbish
dump.

I trust you the reader, will recognise by now that the second
hang glider story was a joke, but the first one was not and needs to be taken
seriously.