National Security

Another weekend in Dallas, another round of massive used CD purchases. Everything from Frank Gambale to Sloan was part of the $1-3 haul. I also got some random things without cases – like Disc 1 of Prince’s Sign o the Times. Plus my office got an award! We’re an award-winning form now. Pictures should be here next week.

In other news, let’s talk about these box cutters that keep finding their way onto planes.

Are box cutters still dangerous? Prior to the morning of September 1, 2001, the purpose of a box cutter as a terrorist weapon was to keep the passengers at bay while the pilot changes course and takes the plane somewhere else to land it. But on 9/11 a new paradigm in warfare emerged: kamikaze terrorism. Using a commercial airliner as a giant missile had never really been done before, at least in the U.S. Previously, the standard counter-terrorism procedure in the case of a hijacking was to deal with the terrorist’s demands; but when a terrorist has no demands…all bets are off.

I’d be willing to wager that from now on any American passenger involved in a hijacking will automatically assume that their plane will be used as a suicide bomb and thus retaliate against any terrorist. With this assumption, they can be easily motivated to overtake their captors because the passengers will always outnumber the terrorists. No box cutter can stop a mob of passengers dedicated to survival. Plus that mob will always be angry at the murders of 9/11. I know I will. I’d much rather die fighting on a plane that crashes into a field in Pennsylvania than die crashing into a building.

Prior to 9/11 there was a measure of trust, however small, that a terrorist would eventually land a plane safely; otherwise why would he be on the plane? Terrorists used to have demands. Now there’s no guarantee. I honestly don’t think we’ll see another suicide hijacking after what we’ve learned. Those aboard United Flight 93 learned very quickly how to combat this new terrorist tactic, and they successfully avoided the greater horrors of Washington and New York by attacking their enemies and crashing their plane near Shanksville, PA. Humans adapt that quickly.