Tuesday’s scare at the Juneau International Airport appears to be much ado about nothing. For about 30 minutes that morning, however, we’re certain a plethora of worst-case scenarios played out in the heads of passengers and authorities after a single bullet was found on a jetway.
But should this be treated as a big deal? Big enough to warrant evacuating a departure lounge and two planes? After all, this is Alaska; home of avid hunters and a popular destination for those who want to bag big game.
Sadly, everything is a big deal these days. The cost of under-reacting in a post-Sept. 11 world is no longer an option. Every possible threat has to be dealt with.
The issue comes down to liability, and if authorities see a red flag and do nothing they must shoulder all the blame if chaos ensues.
We won’t likely see an exact repeat of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks anytime soon. To clarify, we mean it isn’t likely that a handful of individuals would be allowed to hijack commercial flights with box cutters as passengers sit idly by. Our national fear of flying reached the point years ago when not even toenail clippers could be taken on a plane. This isn’t how flying should be, but that is the stark reality of the world we now live in.
This grim realization was made even clearer recently when a German pilot intentionally crashed a plane into the side of a mountain, killing all 150 passengers on board. It’s not just international threats that countries must worry about. The most pressing dangers, it seems, are originating closer and closer to home.
If only we could return to the nonthreatening normalcy of flying that Americans experienced in the past, but those times are long gone. That doesn’t mean, however, that we must give in to every fear, either real or imagined.
Police and Transportation Security Administration officials have jobs to do and protocol to follow. We’re glad they took the threat seriously, even if it ends up being for nothing. Hoping for the best while preparing for the worst is why we have these safety checks in the first place. The inconvenience of having a flight delayed far outweighs the inconvenience of searching wreckage for a plane’s black box and wondering what happened — and what preventative measures should have been taken.
— Juneau Empire,