Why do they call it terrorism? Because it doesn't work without fear.
Two stories in the news today reveal the extent to which we've become a fearful society, just as the terrorists intended.
In North Dakota, the Grand Forks Herald reports, the reason a regional jet put down in Fargo was because there were Saudi students onboard who looked suspicious:
But in the air, once one of the Saudis visited the bathroom -- "Other passengers went to the bathroom, too." -- things began to change, de Leon said. "About 10 or 15 minutes later, I could feel the airplane was decreasing altitude, and the pilot said we should get ready to land."
"The crew had identified what I would call a 'suspicious condition' in the lavatory onboard," Fargo Police Chief Keith Ternes said Sunday, according to news reports.
The interesting factoid? Other passengers went to the bathroom, too. But only the Saudis were taken away.
In San Francisco, meanwhile, an airshow got some people bothered when a 747 buzzed the Golden Gate Bridge.
Didn't the FAA have to approve that "buzz"?!
Technically, no. In the area over the Golden Gate bridge, you can fly under 3,000 feet and not have to be talking to a controller. The controlled airspace there is between 3 and 10 thousand feet (and all airspace in the country above 18,000 feet is controlled airspace)
That said, I'm pretty sure they were talking to the controllers.
I don't know - I think people can be forgiven for being a little unnerved by a United 747 flying at low altitude toward downtown San Francisco.
During an airshow? I wonder what they thought the Blue Angels were up to? (btw, if you ever see a low-flying 747 with its landing gear extended, its probably NOT terrorists)
Assuming I didn't know there was an airshow going on (I spend a lot of time in the basement with a pillow over my head), if I saw the Blue Angels go by in formation, I might assume they were doing a flyover at a Lee Greenwood concert or something.
But 9/11 or not, if you see a commercial airliner flying at low altitude over a major city and don't have an immediate context for it, I think freaking out a little bit is a perfectly reasonable reaction. This guy, for instance:
"Saw this from the Bay Bridge upper deck. It freaked me out a little bit to see a 747 flying so low. Couldn't see the UA markings but that would have been worse." (emphasis mine)
That doesn't necessarily indicate an irrational fear of terrorists.Those things have been known to crash every now and then.
I have the same reaction when I see a Ryder truck.