Friday, September 26, 2014

We see terrorist attacks everywhere, particularly where they don't exist

It was just the other day I was sitting in the waiting area of an auto repair shop when the television broke away from the ladies of the View to tell us of a crucial breaking news story.


An incident at O’Hare International Airport. Security was beefed up significantly. Terminal One (the United Airlines terminal, a very significant part of the airport that once again believes it is the world’s busiest) had parts of it completely shut down.


THERE WAS ABSOLUTELY no detail given out by police about what exactly was going on. But news anchor Alan Krashesky gave us some information, purely on background, that implied something may have happened that could be construed as an attempt at a terrorist-motivated incident.


In the end, it turned out that a piece of luggage went unclaimed. Somebody took it to be suspicious. All the authorities were called in.


All for a bag that ultimately had nothing in it that could have been considered threatening!


A great big “Whew!” We can relax. No terrorist threat there.


NOR WAS THERE one on Friday, when a fire broke out at an FAA radar center in suburban Aurora. That center is an integral part of the communications that allow officials at O’Hare and Midway airports to keep track of which airplanes are coming and going from their respective facilities.


In this incident, officials knew right away about the fire.


But there were those who were convinced early on that this had to be some sort of terrorist-motivated attack on the United States (which makes sense since anything that impacts O’Hare and Midway has a backlash affect to airports across the country).


That fire managed to disrupt more than 1,800 flights into or out of Chicago, and Southwest Airlines wound up cancelling all its flights on Friday out of Midway. Which is a big deal because Southwest is the airline that essentially props up Midway. All those cheap, no-frills, flights wound up being cancelled.


MY FAVORITE ANECDOTE was to learn that the Valparaiso University football team over in Indiana had to scramble to get a charter flight out of South Bend, Ind., so that they could be in North Carolina on Saturday for their scheduled game.


They were already on the way to Midway when they learned of the chaos that passengers were being confronted with. Meanwhile, activist Gloria Steinem couldn't get a flight from New York to Chicago to appear at a campaign event on behalf of Gov. Pat Quinn's re-election desires.


For purposes of this commentary, it should be noted that FAA officials found out the fire was caused by a now-former 36-year-old employee of the facility who was upset about a job transfer to Honolulu. Nobody with ISIS or Al Qaeda or anyone else along those lines had anything to do with the incident.


Although I’m sure some people over there would love to be able to take credit for causing such havoc. It would play into their agendas.


WHICH IS WHY I’m bothered by all the paranoia that crops up whenever there is some sort of incident that people with certain ideological hang-ups will want to blame on people of Arab ethnic backgrounds.


It gets those of us who ought to know better all freaked out. We should be more rational, particularly in a moment of crisis. It is the people who panic and over-react and make misjudgments who wind up making mistakes that cause lasting problems.


It makes me suspect that the people who are quick to assume “Muslims” did it every time something bad happens are inadvertently giving aid and comfort to the terrorist-types who they think they’re attacking.


A moment of rationality every now and then would help us to put these incidents into a proper perspective – particularly the Aurora fire; which makes me think the offender is going to get the real punishment by being forced to endure future Midwestern winters instead of the balmier climate of Hawaii.



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