BASE Jumping the Freedom Tower

This is an excellent video of three BASE jumpers who sneaked into the Freedom Tower (the asymmetrical architectural abortion that is replacing the Twin Towers at the glacial pace of Bloomberg-era NYC) and parachuted off September 30th. We’ve cued up the video to two minutes in, so you’ll miss most of the nerving-up phase and only see the last half minute and the actual jumps.

The jumps were seen by Port Authority brass as deeply insulting, but Port Authority police, who failed to secure the site — the jumpers came through a hole in the fence that had been plugged for weeks by a loose canvas tarp — didn’t have the investigative ability to determine who the jumpers were. The case was assigned to the NYPD, and New York police and prosecutors dropped dozens of violent-crime investigations cold in a Javertesque quest to nail the jumpers.

In the end, pervasive surveillance and unlimited police manpower bagged the jumpers, when the identity of every car moving in the area that night was investigated, uncovering the jumpers’ pick-up ride.

Once the three jumpers and their lookout arrested this week and charged with multiple felonies each, two of them posted videos. Here’s the second one, which is only 43 second long and just shows the jump (we think it’s the first jumper, chronologically, but we’re not sure). 

The videos are fascinating, and we watched them over and over. You can hear the signals of apprehension, or at least heightened awareness, in the respiration and voice pitch of the jumpers. One jumper seems to open while facing towards the building, but quickly turns away. As you can imagine, an opening while your canopy is aimed towards a building (or cliff face) is a Very Bad Thing in BASE jumping, and often figures in reports of fatalities. (BASE jumping is arguably the most deadly of all sports).

These young men had a great deal of nerve to do this thing, and they don’t deserve to go to prison or be branded felons for it. Just as no one in Port Authority security was held responsible or suffered a career setback for the 1993 or 9/11 attacks, and the PA cop who was dozing when a youth slipped past and explored the building recently wasn’t held accountable, it’s a safe bet that no one will be held accountable for the lax security that let the harmless jumpers into the site last September.

And no one will be held accountable for the next security breach that the sleeping PA Police permit. And absolutely no one will be held accountable for the murders, rapes and robberies to be committed by those felons the NYPD wasn’t seeking while they were committing all resources to breaking the Case of the Three Jumpers.

Hat tip, Donald Douglas’s American Power blog. Some more information at the New York Daily News.

8 thoughts on “BASE Jumping the Freedom Tower

  1. 111

    PA cops are there but outside security companies guard the building. It was a sleeping security guard not a PA cop that the kid snuck by.

  2. StukaPilot

    somewhat disagree. these jumpers could have screwed up and landed on someone at terminal velocity and, even if they only splattered themselves, I would not want to be the one assigned to clean up the resulting mess…on the other hand, this is clearly a heroic/fascistic stunt in the absolute D’Annunzion sense, so I can’t help feeling a spasm of admiration.

  3. Bill K

    Well at least among us Americans, the Three Felonies a Day crowd, they did their felonies with style. Stuka, with respect, I’m tired of authorities tightening the chains because what might happen. One might have an accident with a firearm too. Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt that they knew what they were doing. If they screw up, that’s the time to roast ’em.

  4. Tom

    Let’s see: There was no aggression, theft, or fraud. The trespassing definitely wasn’t malicious, they seemed to only want to have some fun, and from what I gather, nothing was broken or destroyed.

    So, what CRIME was committed?

  5. Y.

    The irony of people getting charged with numerous felonies after jumping off a ‘Freedom Tower’ is deliciously ironic.

  6. Prairie Patriot

    Two thoughts: The first is that I agree with the law in this case. If this was a different scenario involving a fundamental right, then I could understand your point. However, no one has the right to jump off buildings for recreation (although, you might be able to argue it’s the “pursuit of happiness” which is a stretch in my mind). Jumping off buildings in an urban setting can go seriously wrong and could end up killing or injuring those below. What I DON’T agree with is making it a priority and pulling resources off other cases with actual victims. Assign it to a detective and drive on.

    My second thought is that law enforcement should not be held responsible for people who break laws unless it’s an especially egregious dereliction of duty on LE’s part. LE are so often NOT held accountable for serious breeches of duty that I think sometimes we pile on them for things that normally would not be considered “their fault”.

    1. Y.

      They jumped in the middle of the night.

      A parachutist killing someone on landing is a bit of a stretch. Imaginable, but improbable.

      Same happening in the middle of an empty street.. ridiculous.

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