Ease of terrorism equates to an inconvenient, scary future
“Fly the friendly skies.” Only if you’re a bird. And even then, I wouldn’t be too sure. That communicable slogan from United Airlines took off for the first time in 1965. But it might as well have pertained to Kitty Hawk, circa 1903.
The days of “friendly skies” are over. They’ve been over. And they’re not coming back. Not in our lifetime. Not even in the lifetime of those born today. And, no, I am not referring to asking an airline attendant for two bags of pretzels and being told you can have only one.
The indelibly horrendous events of 911 have changed air travel forever. The London metro and bus bombings of 2005 have altered public ground transportation, if not forever, then at least to the point that it raised our awareness that no mass transportation is safe anymore.
Soon, we may not even be allowed to carry pens on board a plane. All it takes is one injection of a liquid explosive into the ink chamber. Simple. Just like that. Any carry-on item can be used as a dangerous weapon in the hands of crazed intellect. Simplicity is weaponry in and of itself to those with minds smart enough to be dangerous – especially if their cerebellar creativity is marked by insanity. That combustible blend of misdirected genius and invention is far more nihilistic than any bomb.
The most horrifically effective terrorists were masterful strategists whose methods were fundamentally conceived with an almost child-like faith in simplicity. The manipulation of the United States’ own aircraft as missiles of mass destruction on 911? Simple. The timing of each of those plane’s destructive end? Pure genius. The execution of thousands of innocent people? Insanity. Basic simplicity, abundant ingenuity, and a currency of insanity – three primordial characteristics of a fearsomely formidable and systematic exercise called terrorism.
No bottled liquids, no cell phones, no laptops. Since passengers will no longer be able to take bottled or canned liquids on board aircraft, what about the liquids already on board? What about our own security forces? How do we know they’re not sabotaging the bottled water or other beverages provided by the airlines with explosive chemicals powerful enough to blow a plane into pieces no larger than a Dixie cup? Don’t think that could ever happen? 911 could never happen either. Neither could the London bombing or the recent Northwest Airlines scare in Amsterdam. For that matter, neither could the Holocaust. The teachings of history provide incontestable testimony that anything can happen anywhere to anyone at anytime. And let’s not forget that the hijackers of those politicidal flights of 911 were trained to fly right here in the United States, the land of opportunity!
Terrorism is so easy that it could and probably will become more frequent than we can ever fear. And because of that probable frequency of attempts and occurrence, I question whether our own federal intelligence can compete in the same classroom. I am very fearful that the attempts and threats of attempts at terrorism will come so rapidly that we cannot keep our guard up long enough. Who is to say that a group of terrorists could not possibly rectally insert a cylinder of homemade liquid explosives before boarding a plane? Liquid explosives are nearly impossible to detect anyway. All it takes is some water, nitric acid, nitrobenzene, and dithekite. Nitroglycerine would be more volatile if hidden in an orifice, but again, we are talking about suicidal bombers whose fearlessness and methodical intelligence make the Japanese kamikaze pilots of World War II seem like dispassionate and despondent weaklings. All it takes is for one major accurate attack. This isn’t apocalyptic paranoia on my part. The only true possible thing in life besides death itself is impossibility.
Adolf Hitler – one of the most genuinely diabolical and ruthless terrorists of any century – was the epitome of complex thoughts made simple as his intellectual channels broke through the levees of his sanity and flooded a field of 6 million Jews so savagely and yet so economically that even many historians today cannot comprehend the ease and effect of his widespread butchery.
Consider, too, the relative ease of the events of 911. Consider how lucky we really were, despite the senseless death of 3,000 unassuming people. Just 30 minutes more here or 60 minutes more there, or the heroes of United 93 not rebelling so magnanimously as they had, and we would have been crying over the remains of more than 10,000 bodies, instead of 3,000. The point is, what could have been can still happen. And we may not be – forgive me – as lucky as we were the last time. The next time, the body count could be sickeningly insurmountable.
Genocidal attempts in Amsterdam, explosives in baby bottles, suspicious behavior and faces surrounding us. Security measures so intense that the growing cosmetic and convenience discomforts of air travel caused by what we are no longer allowed to have in our possession will only be surpassed by the unspeakable torment and suffering of an actual terrorist attack.
• John DiMambro is publisher of the Nevada Appeal. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.