Victims’ loved ones apalled by bin Laden tapes

The Associated Press
Saturday December 15, 2001

Terrorist leader reminds one Bay Area resident of a gloating, smirking criminal 


SAN FRANCISCO — Families of Bay Area terrorism victims watched with horror Thursday as Osama bin Laden celebrated the Sept. 11 attacks on videotapes released by the Department of Defense. 

They called bin Laden’s reaction appalling, horrifying. Some wished they hadn’t watched it. 

“He reminds me of a criminal who gloats and smirks in the courtroom in order to taunt the families he has victimized,” said Alice Hoglan, one of the thousands of loved ones left in mourning by the terrorist attacks. 

Hoglan’s son, Mark Bingham of San Francisco, was among a group of passengers who apparently prevented United Flight 93 from crashing into a Washington landmark after two planes toppled New York’s World Trade Center and a third crushed part of the Pentagon. 

Thomas Burnett of San Ramon called his wife, Deena, four times from the flight and told her he and other passengers planned to do something. They have been hailed as heroes for charging terrorists on the plane, which crashed in a Pennsylvania field. 

“It was just horrifying. I’m numb for having watched it. It’s one thing to have a picture of Osama bin Laden, but it’s another thing to see him celebrating,” Deena Burnett said. 

Jack Grandcolas of San Rafael lost his wife, Lauren, on Flight 93. He said the video was hard to watch. 

“It’s a confession of guilt. It’s remorseless. It’s a joyous admission of guilt,” Grandcolas said. He said he felt satisfaction that bin Laden never mentioned Flight 93. 

“That’s because it was the first win in the battle of good over evil,” he said. “That field in Pennsylvania wasn’t a target for anyone. And I find it almost providential that it was not far from the battlefield in Gettysburg, where other patriots died.”