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Columnist, Sheila Moss, is humor writer from  Tennessee. She writes  a weekly human interest column about daily life and the funny things that happen to everyone.

   She has written for  the Daily News of Kingsport,   Griffin Journal, Oakridge Now, Atlanta Woman Magazine, Aberdeen Examiner, Angleton Advocate,  and Smyrna AM, a supplement of the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal. She has been published by Voyageur Press, McGraw Hill, and the good folks at Guidepost Books.  Her articles have appeared in numerous anthologies and other publications, both in print and online.

    She is a former board member and past  Editor of  the, website of  the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, the oldest and largest professional organization for columnists. She is the Web Editor of Southern  and  a founder of the Southern Humorists writers' organization. She is writer, editor, and webmaster of

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Now, you see it on radar, now you don't. Poof! Where did it go? It isn't easy to lose something as big a Boeing 777 we are told. Modern airliners have tracking equipment to tell air traffic controllers where they are, but somehow the systems have gone "poof" also, faster than a magic genie.

The Malaysians assume leadership in a search, running around like a bunch of Keystone Cops, bumping into each other, searching the last known location with ships and planes, finding nothing.

We are educated by CNN about transponders. Sounds like something from Star Wars, but is simply a piece of equipment that sends out signals of the plane's location. Well, maybe it is a bit like Star Wars. But transponders can be turned off like a radio. All it takes is human intervention.

Oil spills found early in the search turn out to not be jet fuel. The Malaysians goofed again. Then the Malaysians revealed that they received a final bleep of radar that indicates the plane changed course, leading to even more head scratching.

The Chinese get in on the act with their satellites. After all, most of the people aboard were Chinese. They had a vested interest. But their satellites found only floating junk and they were embarrassed that they even mentioned it.

The US comes blazing in with spurs on their boots and a wagon load of experts. They discovered "pings" had been sent out in spite of the Malaysian conclusion that nothing was heard after the transponders quit working. We were educated by TV on what a ping is, as if we have never seen a submarine movie or played pong in the early days of computer gaming.

Meanwhile everyone seems to have a theory about what might have happened, everything from pilot suicide to alien abduction. It seems that all Keystone Cops are not Malaysian.

Experts are interviewed and they give expert opinions and expert information about explosions, catastrophic failure, wings falling off, and all sorts of remarkable events that ordinary people could never imagine.

What normal people imagine is something more along the order of a hijacking or terrorist takeover. Those we have experienced; those we know can happen.

Meanwhile, the theory about two stolen passports being used by terrorists bites the dust. It is only Iranians trying to immigrate illegally. It happens every day, they tell us. Why should an airline bother with checking passports against a data base?

The trail of pings is followed like breadcrumbs and leads to the Indian Ocean, so the US decides that might be a good place to look for the plane. Others follow the breadcrumb trail and speculate that the plane may have landed undetected on an island not much bigger than the plane. With every press conference the search area widens until it includes half of Asia.

The experts eventually agree with the rest of us, it was a deliberate act. But our nagging questions continue. Why are black boxes on airplanes instead of data being beamed to a satellite? Why can't our intelligence satellites spot a huge air plane when Google Earth can see our car in the driveway and Phone Finder can pinpoint a lost iPhone?

We must find this plane and regardless of the amount it costs, regardless of the amount of time or effort. We must find out what happened to make sure it never happens again, to be sure it wasn't a practice run for something bigger, to be sure the plane will not be used in further sabotage, to give closure to the incident for relatives of people aboard, and to satisfy human curiosity.

We have found a modern airliner with all the bells and whistles can disappear right under our expert noses. And maybe, just maybe, that means 911 will happen again. And that is the really scary thing.


Copyright 2014 Sheila Moss

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