We Didn't Always Flip Out Over Terrorism

Before 9/11, we handled this better
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 11, 2010 1:16 PM CST
We Didn't Always Flip Out Over Terrorism
A Shiite Muslim hijacker points his pistol toward an ABC news media crew from the window of the cockpit of a TWA jet as the American television crew approaches for an interview, June 19, 1985.   (AP Photo/Herve Merliac/FILE)

Imagine this: Muslim terrorists hijack a jet and hold it hostage for two weeks. Simultaneously, a bomb blows up a 747 in midair, killing 300-plus people. Months later, a US airliner is bombed over Greece. Five months after that, terrorists kill 20 aboard a US plane in Pakistan. All of this actually happened between 1985 and 1989, and “as a country, our psychological reaction, much to our credit, was calm, measured and not yet self-defeating,” writes pilot Patrick Smith in Salon.

But today, Smith feels things would be quite different. “Could we handle even a fraction of such disaster?” he asks. “Look at the debased state of airport security” in which passengers are subjected to naked body scans and pilots subjected to embarrassing pat-downs. “It is remarkable how we have come to place Sept. 11, 2001 as the fulcrum upon which we balance almost all our decisions,” he marvels, “as if deadly terrorism didn’t exist prior to that day. … We, as a nation, have grown weak and prone to panic.” Click here to read his entire piece.
(More terrorism stories.)

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