Beyond their wholehearted support for 9/11 truth, Janette MacKinlay and Mark Wolfert did not have a whole lot in common.
Janette, a sensitive and somewhat shy woman, was an artist who kept to the big city. Her haunts were downtown Manhattan and the San Francisco Bay Area.
As for Mark, sensitive and shy would be just about the last words you’d ever hear about him. He was a hard drinker (till a stroke slowed him down), a bar brawler (till getting older and wiser slowed him down), and a legendary loudmouth ham radio operator (the FCC never did manage to slow him down) who left the Chicago area two decades ago because he got sick of the big city, and set up a private auto repair practice in his garage in Lone Rock, Wisconsin.
Most serious 9/11 truth-seekers have heard about Janette MacKinlay. They know about how she was in her Manhattan apartment on 9/11/01 when dust and debris from the exploding Twin Towers blasted its way through her window and into her living quarters. Some have heard about how, while she sought shelter in another building, Janette heard FBI agents expressing concern about an anthrax attack. When, a month later, an actual anthrax attack happened, Janette remembered the FBI men’s words and thought it exceedingly odd. Many know that she provided the first World Trade Center dust samples analyzed by Professor Steven Jones and found to contain iron-rich microspheres (a sign that steel had been melted to iron and explosively aerosolized) alongside unexploded chips of high-power nanothermite explosives.
Very few 9/11 truthers have heard of Mark Wolfert. But a lot of ordinary folks in my corner of Wisconsin know that when Mark saw the Towers exploding on TV, then Building 7 collapsing in 6.5 seconds, he got mad – just like he’d get mad if someone in a bar was being a real asshole, only more so. Mark immediately summed up 9/11 in two words: “Something STINKS.” He must have said those two words thousands of times – to me, his customers, his friends, anybody who’d listen.
Janette MacKinlay didn’t figure it out that fast. She was shell-shocked, dazed and confused, for the rest of 2001. But even early on, something deep inside her had told her to save some of the dust and grit that had blasted out her windows and blanketed her floors. As the months and then years went by, she heard about the questions that people like David Ray Griffin were raising concerning the events of 9/11 and looked into them and didn’t like what she saw.
Mark Wolfert loved storytelling and had a powerful sense of humor that covered a huge range from sardonic to absurd to playful to obscene. He often would tell the story of how I was in his garage on 9/11/2001, sitting at the makeshift bar drinking plain orange juice (Mark’s auto repair joint was the happeningest bar in Lone Rock, and I was its token teetotaler) watching the Towers exploding over and over on TV. The way Mark told it, he was ranting the whole time about the obvious controlled demolitions, while I kept telling him he was crazy. Well, maybe he was crazy, because I’m pretty sure I was in Madison on 9/11/01, not at Mark’s garage bar in Lone Rock. But it’s true that Mark did figure out that 9/11 was an inside job two years before I did. He used to rant about controlled demolition and the lack of airliner debris at the Pentagon two years before I took those topics seriously. He deserves some of the credit for pushing me to look into it, even if I wasn’t actually there in his garage on 9/11.
Janette MacKinlay was exquisitely sensitive to the trauma that had been inflicted on her by the real perpetrators of 9/11. Her own case of 9/11-induced PTSD helped her understand how many other Americans had been similarly traumatized. She always advised the 9/11 truth movement to be kind and gentle and understated. Don’t keep showing pictures of the exploding Towers, she said. That traumatizes people, makes them want to look away, makes them reject your message.
Mark Wolfert wasn’t the kind of guy who’d be immobilized by trauma. And he wasn’t traumatized by 9/11 – he was enraged. He got mad. He kicked ass. He got in people’s faces. He made noise. His garage was full of posters with messages like “I smoke – fuckin’ deal with it!” Mark was a classic example of the “hardy” type, as opposed to Janette’s “sensitive” type, in Ken Jenkins’ typology.
Janette, whose brain was apparently as sensitive to toxic chemicals as her heart and mind were to toxic images, was not just traumatized by the 9/11 perps – she was murdered. The World Trade Center dust she saved and gave to Steven Jones was full of toxins: nanothermite chips, asbestos, heavy metals from pulverized computers and batteries, a whole witch’s brew of stuff you wouldn’t want in your body. She breathed all that crap as she fled her apartment on 9/11/01, and last week it finally killed her. She died of a brain tumor almost undoubtedly caused by her inhalation of the same World Trade Center dust she provided to Steven Jones.
Mark died a month ago in a car crash. Two days before he died, he was at my house doing one of his trademark work-arounds to beat a short-circuit in my 1996 Nissan van. Mark was the best mechanic around, especially for weird problems that stumped more conventional minds. (The regular mechanics, those whose garages didn’t double as bars, would send him vehicles with problems they couldn’t figure out.) And Mark was an amateur radio genius. He blasted his shortwave radio transmissions at power levels thousands of times higher than those allowed by the FCC, telling people in Australia and Europe and Asia and Mars everywhere else that 9/11 was an inside job. Just before he died, Mark and I had been scheming to build a 100-foot radio tower on my property and resume the 9/11 truth transmissions that had been on hold since he’d had a stroke and lost his house and broadcast tower.
Less than 48 hours before his death, Mark fixed my van’s short-circuit by doing some rewiring and setting it up so that when I turn off and park the van, I pull out the fuse governing the leaky circuit, which I then replace prior to re-starting the vehicle. This saved me a couple hundred dollars on a new ignition. As it turned out, Mark left his cigarette butt on the spot under the hood where I always put the pulled fuse. I’ve left it there, so that every time I pull or replace that fuse – every time I drive the van – I remember him.
As I recall, Janette used to sip wine with dinner. I got to know her over dinner at a restaurant in Washington, D.C. during the 2005 Truth Emergency Convergence. Mark, for his part, guzzled everything from beer to the hard stuff and did a whole lot of other things that Islam frowns on. Still, Mark defended Muslims and Islam against the ignorant attacks of some of his buddies, and his commitment to truth and justice was stronger than that of most Muslims I’ve known. Since God is just, perhaps the mercy and compassion of the All-Merciful and All-Compassionate may stretch to embrace not only such mild sinners as Janette, but even some committed reprobates like Mark, who had little use for religion but who borrowed The Idiots Guide to Islam from me right before his death.
Mark Wolfert and Janette MacKinlay, despite their opposite personalities, were both good, kind, generous people – people with hearts that do more than just pump blood, people whose having existed blesses the world. When I’m feeling disgusted by America and Americans and humanity in general, it’s knowing that there are people out there like Mark and Janette that keeps me sane.