Monday, December 28, 2009

A Good Reminder

"Ladies and gentlemen, we will be landing in approximately an hour and a half. For the last hour of the flight you will not be allowed to stand up, go to the restroom, or have any blankets or coats in your lap. If you need to use the restroom or move about the cabin, now would be a good time to do so."

Those were the words I heard the day after Christmas during my break while I worked a flight from London back into the United States. Those types of announcements, security personnel searching every passenger and their bags in the jet-bridge during boarding, not being able to tell passengers what cities we're flying over; it all seems very familiar. It seems like the stuff we used to see and hear right after 9/11.

Now granted, all of these rules seem rather silly. After all, if a terrorist is going to blow up a plane and knows that everyone will need to be seated during the last hour of the flight, what's to stop him from blowing up the plane right after take-off, or during the middle of the flight, or 61 minutes before the flight lands for that matter. And what's to stop a terrorist from mixing six 3-ounce bottles of liquid explosives together and blowing up a plane on the ramp - near the terminal.

The point is that regardless of how many rules are put into place, they're only effective if a terrorist hasn't been watching the news and is planning on doing the exact thing that the guy before him tried. Let's say tomorrow, someone tries to blow up a subway train but right before he pulls the trigger, he stands up, jumps around one one foot, sings "Mary Had a Little Lamb", and then BOOM! The next day, the subway police would come out with a new rule that would probably read something like this, "No jumping around on one foot or singing allowed on the subway." Seems kind of silly doesn't it, but it also sounds a lot like what the TSA has done. Moving blankets to the overhead and not allowing passengers to stand up for the last hour will certainly piss people off, but will it stop someone who has been training for the past 8 years to blow up a plane? Probably not.

Personally, I'm kind of glad that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab tried to blow up a plane. Don't get me wrong, it upsets me that he made it through several security checkpoints while being a "person of interest". I certainly don't want to see anybody hurt and the economy probably wouldn't improve because of another terrorist attack. However, I think a failed attempt, like the one that occurred Christmas Day on Northwest flight 253, is a good reminder that we still live in a post-9/11 world and it's everyday people that need to make it safe. There isn't going to be a cop on every corner or an air marshal on every flight but there are normal people like you and me that, by working together, can prevent another attack on the country.

Terrorist's are training every day to attack our country's weakest points. Are you ready to attack back?

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