About a generation and a half elapsed between November 22, 1963, to September 11, 2001: thirty-seven years, nine months, and twenty days. If you were born the day Kennedy died, your children would be youngsters on 9/11, as I was on November 22, 1963. We let something terrible happen in 1963: criminals murdered our president, and we did not raise holy hell when they lied about what they had done. A little over thirty-seven years later, the institutional children of those criminals struck again, and we did the same thing. We let them get away with it.

After long, careful and thorough research, we have good evidence now that we permitted a coup in 1963. A long time passed – more than forty years – before many of us understood or believed that. We don’t know yet what occurred on September 11, 2001. The events of that day present more complications than does delivery of a bullet to a leader’s head. Complex or not, we do not have fifty years to grasp the significance of 9/11. To save our republic, we have to face what happened that day as soon as possible.

To undertake this project of understanding, we should recall that the desire to discover what happened on 9/11 does not originate with a group of extremists who see a government conspiracy behind every horrible event. Efforts to learn the truth about 9/11 originate with victims’ families. Family members lost wives and husbands, sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters. They lost the people they loved most without warning, in circumstances that called for explanation. These were not natural deaths: victims died at the scene of an enormous crime. When that happens, you want to know who murdered them. How and why the murderers committed the crime is also on your mind.

Each person in the towers walked into the front door of the building that sunny September morning, ready to work one more day. They took the elevator to the floor where they would meet their friends, sit at their desks, place phone calls, type messages to colleagues. Everything seemed like every other morning. Thirty minutes later, they are saying goodbye to their spouses on their cell phones, or standing at a shattered window to decide whether they ought to jump. Most of the people who died that morning had loved ones at home, in school, in cities nearby. Those family members had dinner that night with an empty space at the table, went to sleep that night with an empty space in the bed. They knew the empty space would not be filled again.

When something like that happens to your family, you want to know why. Your grief won’t permit you to forget. You press for an investigation, but you find quickly enough that the officials you ask are too busy for you. They tell you politely, with well-practiced indirection, we have better things to do. They tell you to go away: we’ll give you money if you go away. They tell you we already know everything we can find out. They tell you things you know cannot be true. You come to understand that they snow you and avoid you compulsively: they act under implicit orders to do so. You cannot trust them with even the simplest request or task.

The 9/11 truth movement began with family members who dealt with officials like that: dilatory officials who were dishonest, unforthcoming, deceptive, unresponsive and, in the end, unsympathetic. When the victims’ families would not give up, the president chartered the 9/11 Commission more than fourteen months after the attacks. The Commission submitted its final report nearly three years after September 11, in 2004.

To show his level of support for the body he formed, the president would not speak with the Commission for the record. He did not give a reason. Anything he had to say would be privileged and private. If the president would not cooperate with the Commission, who else in the government would? The president’s example told everyone in government to treat the Commission’s inquiries the same way the officials had had treated inquiries from the victims’ families. When people request classified information, you have to tell petitioners they cannot have it, without telling them why they cannot have it. You have to bury the information, to prevent it from becoming evidence against you.

Cass Sunstein, a well intentioned law professor who happened upon a position of responsibility serving this corps of organized criminals, calls people in the truth movement epistemological cripples. He suggests these cripples are so unbalanced and dangerous that government law enforcement agencies should infiltrate their groups to destroy cohesion, spread rumors and lies, sow conflict, and disrupt their effectiveness. That is how a government official responds to people who just want to know how their dad or their mom wound up buried under a thousand tons of rubble, with molten steel flowing around their bodies. Sunstein ridicules parents who reject lies and excuses, when they ask simple questions about why their sons and daughters died. He devises deceitful, aggressive strategies to derogate, discourage, and diminish spouses who want to know, justifiably, what happened to their wives and husbands.

Today, the 9/11 truth movement represents men and women who just want to know the nature of these crimes, not extremists, nuts, anarchists, spies, violent troublemakers, or other misfits. They pose a threat only to people in government who are complicit in government’s crimes. The information they want to publicize has no bearing on national security. The information does indict the institutions who guard it and control it. That is why these institutions will not voluntarily relinquish information related to 9/11.