“United State of America” and “America will strand steadfast” (my italics) are only two examples of the outrageous mistakes permeating the 9/11commemorative booklets, “Tragedy” and “9/11/01,” sold to tourists at Ground Zero . In addition to the many misspelled words and names, chunks of text are missing in these shoddy publications; indeed, published not in honor of the day but in a careless bid to cash in on its significance. While in NYC for this year’s observance, tourists who eagerly purchased and proudly held their 9/11 commemorative booklets were the prey of hucksters who took them for $5 and, hence, made a mockery of their reverence.

No one takes credit for these rip-offs: both booklets do not contain a publisher’s name or whereabouts. Vendors, when asked where these works originate, shrug and (conveniently) claim that they don’t speak English nor (quite possibly) any other language.

And much of what makes sense on the pages was simply taken from other authors and photographers.

Everything is ripped off these days unfortunately; it’s the temper of the times,’’ said Peter Skinner, a New York author whose elegant captions for a hardcover book he wrote seven years ago are used, without credit, in a slender booklet titled “9/11/01 [pdf].

However, rip-offs are an inevitable downside of America’s free market system; this wasn’t the first nor will it be the last rip-off as a result of 9/11. Why should we find it surprising that hucksters at Ground Zero are scamming people when hucksters in Washington have been doing the same thing for, needless to say, larger fortunes from the moment the planes crashed into the Towers?