Dress rehearsal?

Terror in the skys, again? and the follow up piece

This journalist's first-hand account of a plane basically being over-run by 14 Syrian men scares the heck out of me. You must read it. It has all the hallmarks of a dress rehearsal, a la the pre 9-11 cross-country flights made by the terrorists. What's remarkable is that none of the passengers stand up to the men. No one says, "Hey, y'all go sit down." Nothing. Just a plane load of average Americans afraid to offend someone. Will this be the message that gets delivered to "masterminds" if this was a dry run? Yes, "nothing happened". But "nothing happened" five or six times in preparation for 9-11.

What scares me most is that I thought we were the America of "Let's Roll", not "Let's Roll Over".

UPDATE: OK. This story is getting out there. Looks like I'm a day behind my blog reading. Seriously, y'all. Read this and *think*.

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12 thoughts on “Dress rehearsal?”

  1. The article is thought provoking, and deeply disturbing.

    I am going to spend too much time going through the paces trying to figure out how I feel about and what I would do were I in a situation, concerning issues of policy and proximity.

  2. You know, as I read that yesterday – part of me kept thinking it was just a hoax, but part of me wonders if it is true.

    I hate living in a world filled with such fear.

  3. Vince – The FAMS is on the record as saying the situation was bungled. You might check this National Review Online story for more insight.

    The fact remains: NOTHING WAS DONE IN-FLIGHT. Everyone has done a lot of 'splaining since then, but no one did sh*t on-board. Everyone just stood by. We have either learned nothing or forgotten everything.

  4. Kevin –

    I have read many follow-ups to this incident, including the National Review. For the most part, they all say the same thing, corroborating the actual facts behind the story and including their own brands of idle speculation, none of which (left, right, whatever) I completely agree with.

    You state/imply that what bothers you (perhaps among other things) is that no one did sh*t while all this was going down. Let's examine who could/should have done sh*t:

    – The air marshals: As soon as the marshals were alerted to Jacobsen's worries (and behavior, incidentally), I find it hard to fault their behavior. They observed and followed up as needed — remember that one of them did go into the restroom to check it out during the flight and found nothing.

    – The passengers: Ummm, no. Let's spin this slightly differently. Say the the group roaming around the plane didn't consist of a bunch of Middle Eastern men, but instead was a bunch of crew-cut ex-military. Or a bunch of metrosexual Wall Street yuppies. Would (or should) Jacobsen or the passengers have done anything then? Probably muttered under their breaths "Stupid jerks, can't you see the fasten seat belts sign is still on?" but by and large, they would have let the flight crew handle it. Which leads us to…

    – The flight crew: I do agree that the flight crew should have done something. At a minimum, they should have done their jobs and told them to sit down, regardless of what nationality they were or what the current level of fear was. (I've been spanked on more than one occasion for not heeding the sign… oops.) The fact that they didn't perform this basic duty, esp. given (in hindsight) that this could have allayed a lot of fears is the only real lack-of-doing-sh*t that I'll blame anyone for.

    That's my US $0.02 analysis. (I'm sure some of you think I overcharged…)

    I find it mildly ironic that the air marshals were actually more concerned with *Jacobsen*'s behavior than the group of men themselves, another reason that cooler heads must prevail. Awareness is one thing. Paranoia and outright fear are another.

    I respect and can actually understand your (and others') reaction, even if I disagree in part with it. And I'm in no way, shape, or form going to try to convince you that your opinion is somehow wrong (real opinions, as opposed to facts, can't be wrong, after all), as that would be a waste of both my time and yours. But you know what? Despite the environment we live in today that seems to abhor disagreement, we still do live in a country where you can (or should be able to) have a vehement disagreement with someone, be free to express it, then sit down and have a beer with that same person. And *that*'s what makes this country great.

  5. Franklin – you call her a retard and point to a story that says she did the right thing:

    If this had been the real thing, and the musicians had instead been terrorists, nothing was stopping them from taking control of the plane or assembling a bomb in the restroom. Given the information they were working with at the time, almost everyone should have reacted differently than they did.

    Jacobsen's fear was quite natural under these circumstances, and she has done us a service by pointing out some egregious shortfalls in our airline security.

    Meanwhile, it's becoming clear that these men weren't screened properly and were only checked AFTER the pilot called security.

    The 14 men in the band were questioned by several agencies that make up the Joint Terrorism Task Force after the pilot aboard Flight 327 from Detroit to Los Angeles on June 29 radioed for law-enforcement assistance.

    …A spokesman for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) confirmed that 13 of the 14 musicians entered the country May 30 and the visas expired June 10, but the men were not detained.

  6. Vince – Logical people can disagree, but I don't buy you're supposition that no one would have reacted if the men weren't Middle Eastern. At least that's doesn't seem to be the impression I get when I fly.

    The truth is the security situation is still FUBAR. Better, but still FUBAR.

    Overreaction? Overhyped? Imaginary events that never happened? Whatever you might believe, I think everyone can agree that situations like this just highlight that we are not ready. Period.

  7. Then I guess we'll just (and I hate this phrase, but c'est la vie) have to agree to disagree.

    And for what it's worth, it's not just my "supposition that no one would have reacted if the men weren't Middle Eastern". It's based on direct observations from my near-weekly flights — the flight crews will usually ask them to sit down, but the passengers invariably say nothing.

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