Attention Passengers, Please Remain Calm!

May 19, 2010
When people hear about September 11, 2001, they only remember the two planes that hit the World Trade Center. In Glen Johnson’s article “Probe reconstructs horror, calculated attacks on planes,” he informs of all four hijacked flights on September 11th. A total of 213 passengers, 25 flight attendants, and eight pilots were aboard these four planes (Johnson).”Everything will be okay. If you try to make any moves, you’ll endanger yourself and the airplane. Just stay quiet,” a speaker was recorded over the radio of one hijacked plane (Johnson). Most of these nineteen hijackers were trained pilots with access to the Boeing key, which goes to any Boeing aircraft cockpit (Johnson). Nineteen hijackers got through airline security on September 11th; two of those nineteen were on the bureau’s terrorist-alert list (Johnson). If security is careless enough not to check the terrorist-alert list for suspected hijackers, then the security can’t guarantee our safety. If between seven and ten A.M. four planes can be hijacked, there is no way airline security is safe with no government funding for new technology and unqualified airport personnel. It is only a matter of time until another tragedy occurs.
Ever since September 11th, 2001, United States airlines have been trying to develop new technology to eliminate the hijacking of U.S. planes. In John Leyden’s article, “Boffins look to technology to thwart airline hijacks,” he points out many systems of development; including surveillance technology that will warn of suspicious passenger behavior (Leyden). Although, not only is this new technology not being released until 2012, but it is not proven that this technology is efficient against suicide bombers, informs Leyden. According to Brian Wilson’s article, “Airlines must help themselves,” the government should help offset the cost of new security, and since congress imposes the rules it should be willing to help; yet the 600 million dollars approved was misguided. From 2001 to 2012 we will not be fully protected from hijackers, suicide bombers, or other threats possibly boarding the same planes as we are.
Although this new security surveillance technology is supposed to make airports safer, we still can’t rely completely on computers. According to John Hamilton’s book Operation Noble Eagle, airport personnel are underpaid and poorly trained to identify terrorists (21). How can we expect to be safe if our airport security isn’t highly trained enough to keep us safe? Also, airport personnel, using biometrics technology, only thoroughly check and pull aside passengers with unique features (Hamilton 22-23). About 670 million passengers board a plane annually (Hamilton 21). My uncle, one of those 670 million, was flying to Louisiana with four others; of all five of them, they pulled him aside to question because he apparently looked suspicious. Think about it, one of five passengers are pulled aside to be questioned, but out of those five are they questioning the right person? Not all terrorists and suicide bombers are going to look incriminating; some can have the most innocent look. More than just those that look suspicious should be thoroughly checked; they should all be checked.
“We’re starting to descend. We’re starting to descend,” she said. “I see water and buildings. Oh my God. Oh my God.” These were Sweeny’s, the flight attendant aboard Flight 11, final words right before the first plane hit the World Trade Center (Johnson). The 213 passengers rush to call their families to say “I love you” one last time, or to say their final good-byes, all because an immense error in identifying terrorists. Daniel Gaultier says, “You never reach zero level of threat, no risk,” (Leyden). Gaultier makes a point; nothing is ever not at risk. It’s not like a terrorist walks onto planes daily, but with more funding for the advanced new security and more competent airline personnel, we could prevent such a huge tragedy like this from reoccurring.

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