Tag Archives: terrorism

Terrorists on airliners prior to 9/11 – the cost of thinking we’re worth killing

Hi readers. Thanks for coming by for a read.

Back before 9/11 the airline flights over the US almost always had a few terrorists aboard.  You’d see them hanging around DFW or Atlanta, or LAX wandering around the boarding areas looking hopefully at the other passengers.  A couple of typical Turks, or Iranians, or Arabs, or Israelis, or Northern Irishmen.  Just wandering around watching people in hopes some of their fellow passengers would be worth killing, or even getting themselves into trouble, wasting a bomb on.

Aside from an occasional hijacking they mostly never did anything.  Fact was, the people sharing their flights were just a bunch of bureaucrats, bleating women, corporate zombies, and people going somewhere to meet people of the opposite sex they’d become acquainted with on the Internet.  Just typical Americans.  Worthless as hell, and certainly not worth the life of a highly trained terrorist.

But when 9/11 came along it made all those non-terrorist passengers feel a lot better about themselves.  Nothing changed with the terrorists, but the typical Americans were generally elevated by the whole thing.  Suddenly it seemed to them that someone thought they were worth killing.

Turned out it was such an uplifting experience for them the government decided they liked having all the spinoff benefits …. trotted out a lot of airport security, Homeland Security, 87 new layers of cops and surveillance, and legions of new guys wearing berets carrying machine guns to go off places terrorists came from and blow away anyone who might think Americans were worth killing.

Worked out fairly well, all in all.  Win-win-win.  Only downside is that so many of the Americans who use to be not be worth killing decided it might be better not to get on airplanes if they could avoid it.  Those people over there where terrorists come from might begin to be pissed off, eventually.  Might start killing some people who aren’t over in those countries they come from and aren’t just wearing berets, battle dress uniforms, and dropping grenades into the market places full of women and kids.

Going back to not being worth killing might be nice.  But you can’t get there from here, I reckons.

Old Jules

Eavesdropping on Homeland Security

One of the ways I keep up on world events and amuse myself when I’m alone in an eating establishment without a book involves eavesdropping.  I gaze at the food, a picture on the wall, something outdoors through the plate glass, and I listen to conversations at the nearby tables.

It’s curiosity, as much as anything else.  And mostly I lose interest quickly because so often the talk is about some sports event, concert, or a television show.  But sometimes it’s pay dirt.

A while before I left New Mexico I was doing the listening routine to the goings-on among several BDU and otherwise uniform clad people of both sexes, all toting large-bore automatic pistols in holsters hanging from their waists.

Turned out these folks were part of a conference between Federal and State Homeland Security forces (whatever that might be).  I’d never seen that particular uniform combination, nor the patches and medallions, so I listened as closely as I dared without drawing attention to myself.

The eating establishment is on San Felipe Tribal Lands.  Maybe that’s why the conversation drifted in that direction.

Fed:  “Do you have any issues dealing with any of the tribes?”

NM State:  “You wouldn’t believe it.  Everything’s an issue.”

And so on in detail involving a lot of ‘issues’ a person born in 1943 (me), would never have believed could ever be discussed by government employees as though they should be part of any reality here.  The attitude was clearly that the tribes were being irresponsible in reluctance and obstruction of the aims of Homeland Security.

The topic broadened in a while.

NM State:  “I think a lot of people just don’t understand what we’re doing.  They don’t realize how dangerous things are for them.”

Fed:  “That’s a problem all over the country.  I was in Phoenix a few weeks ago .  . ., etc”

That NM Homeland Security lady all dressed up with a gun and nowhere to go was wrong.

I believe most people understand perfectly well what they’re doing and have an inkling of why they’re doing it.  It isn’t a lack of understanding that makes me smile and cheer inside, knowing the tribes, at least, are dragging their feet.

I think people are beginning to ‘realize how dangerous things are for them’, to the extent that dangers actually exist in this hostile reality we’ve chosen for ourselves.   But at least a part of the ‘danger’  people feel involves a new kind of policeman who thinks the US Constitution is obstructionist.

They just don’t know what needs to be done about it.

Tom Russell–Claude Dallas
http://youtu.be/MzYTh2xV5NU

Intelligent Common Sense vs. Knee-jerk Common Sense

I agree.

The question is what brand of common sense we choose to adopt.  One trait we humans all share is the unquestionable fact that we have common sense.  We’re able to spot the lack of it in others whenever it’s out of sync with our own, which frequently happens.

Among other things, it seems to me common sense ought to be manifested in personal and public choices about what’s worth getting excited about, being afraid of, and what is not.

For instance, I read somewhere recently that in the entire history of terrorism, beginning in Russia in the 19th Century, fewer than 10,000 people have died.

Common sense would seem to argue terrorism’s not a large enough issue in the world to lend much weight to private and public decision-making.

The war on drugs has been waged since the Reagan Administration.  Countless millions of dollars have been expended in the effort.  Today, forbidden drugs are as available on the streets of America, perhaps more available, than they were when Reagan declared war.

Common sense would seem to argue it was time to look at other alternatives about five years after it all began, rather than spending more on it, building more prisons, hiring more cops, judges, prosecutors.

We’ve known since the early 1970s that foreign energy dependence was a threat to the well-being of this nation.  Petroleum and other hydrocarbons were going away.  From Nixon onward, US presidents pledged and waved the bloody flag pretending an effort to free the US from foreign energy dependence by development of alternative energy sources.

Common sense would seem to argue we’re more dependent on foreign energy today, 40 years later, than we were when our elected chiefs first made public acknowledgement of the threat to national security and well-being.  Which is another way of saying they lied, made meaningless gestures to an actual threat to national security and well-being, while devoting their attention to waging bloody wars on top of soil where the old-fashioned energy sources lay hidden.

Whatever common sense is, you and I certainly have a lot of it.

If we could ever discover how to inject it into the gray matter of the men we elect to office, we’d have to change the definition to something less common.  Which is the reason I stay the hell away from knowing the current news events and don’t pay any mind to politics.

Common sense tells me history testifies to the futility of common sense and the futility of worrying about political matters.   Common sense tells me life’s too short to fire up my ammunition at targets I can’t hit.

Old Jules

John Prine– Illegal Smile
http://youtu.be/Li-HVSdjQFg