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The world is very much different, following the September 9th, 2001 terrorist attacks against the United States., and the entire concept of flight and the image of flight by most Americans was completely changed after that day. Still to this day many Americans and people around the world refuse to fly due to their fears of terrorism. Many changes in the medium of security have been made in attempts to make flying safer around the world. Due to the creation of many organizations and changes in security that occurred following 9/11, the United States is a much safer place.
Prior to the attacks of September 11th, 2001 the United States was a much calmer place. The United States of America was a much more innocent place and security was a much more relaxed subject. According to an author of the Huffington Post many different airline companies were much less strict on what you could and could not bring on an airplane before the terrorist attacks:
“(B)efore the attacks, you could bring blades up to 4 inches long aboard a plane. The Federal Aviation Administration did not consider them menacing, most local laws didn’t prohibit carrying them and they would have been hard to detect without stronger metal detectors, the government explained in its 9/11 commission report” (O’Connor).
It was much easier to get on to a plane twenty years ago, but that was traded off with how much easier it was to be a terrorist on a plane. As reported by ABC News, terrorists twenty years ago were able to easily sneak explosives and lethal weapons on to planes: “Passengers flying today have to remove their shoes when going through security because nearly 10 years ago convicted terrorist Richard Reid managed to sneak explosives on a trans-Atlantic flight in his shoes. Luckily Reid was not able to detonate the shoes” (Ross, Patel Cole). While it is true that many of the additional security measures have done a remarkable job at keeping the country safe, many of the amenities of flying have ceased to exist. In an article by CNN, outline some of these amenities: “In a pre-9/11 world, families and friends regularly walked their loved ones to the gate to say goodbye or picked them up at the gate to say hello. The test of a new relationship was often the airport drop-off: Would your sweetheart pick you up at the gate, baggage claim or curbside?” (Hetter). These are not the only issues, another one of them being,
“Even after deregulation, when the champagne flowed less frequently, travelers used to be able to count on a decent meal (or snacks for shorter flights). Vegetarians and people who kept kosher could even request special meals. But as airlines cut costs, meals shrank down to snacks and then went away. Some flights still offer peanuts or pretzels in addition to food for sale. Other times there’s nothing to eat at all.” (Hetter).
The September 11th attacks took away the remaining innocence of the world and took much of the comfort from flying.
In the terrorism ridden 21st century, the flying world is a much more strict environment. One of the first steps created by the United States to make the process of flying more secure was to create a government organization to control all airline security: “(A)fter 9/11, Washington federalized airport security by creating the Transportation Security Administration. It was the largest federal startup since World War II. The agency quickly hired more than 60,000 people to screen passengers and their baggage at 450 U.S. airports” (PBS.org). The Transportation for Security Administration is still active today, anytime a person leaves or enters the country whether it is by boat or airplane, that person must deal with the TSA . Another PBS.org article reports, “(P)rior to the attacks, passenger screening was done by private companies who were supervised by the Federal Aviation Administration” The problem is that no matter how much the US government does to make travel more and more secure, criminals become more and more prepared for security. The idea is consistent to Jane Harman’s idea of, “As technology and threats evolve, we also need to recognize that there is no such thing as 100 percent security” (The Second Decade After 9/11: Should Our Homeland Security Response Be Different?). As well, these additions in security begin to become a problem to the regular man and woman wanting to fly in peace, as time goes by more freedoms are taken away from citizen as a result to increasing security. On the contrary, the TSA has done an incredible job in keeping the United States safe of terrorists, while some terrorists have been able to sneak in through small glitches in the system, many terrorists have been stopped. According to TSA.gov, the Transportation Security Administration found 2,635 total firearms in carry-on bags in 2015 alone, these 2,635 firearms very possibly could of been used to harm citizens on their respected flights. As well, the United States implemented a No-Fly-List to keep its citizen safe of known possible threats. According to HG.org:
“Those placed on the No Fly List are not permitted to board a commercial aircraft for travel in or out of the United States, and has even been used to divert aircraft containing persons on the list who are not traveling to or from the U.S. away from U.S. airspace. The names on the list are derived from U.S. intelligence gathering, and fluctuates in length, but as of 2012 the List reportedly contained just 21,000 names” (How Does the U.S. No Fly List Work?)
In more detail, the No-Fly List consists of more than just terrorists but many other legal offenders. Later on, in the article provided by HG.org, it goes into more detail in to the people on the No-Fly list:
“The No Fly List is different than the Terrorist Watch List, which is actually much longer, containing approximately 875,000 names as of 2013. The No Fly List is used not merely to combat terrorism, but also to halt the travel of some registered sex offenders and people convicted (or in some cases just suspected) of trafficking in illegal narcotics” (How Does the U.S. No Fly List Work?).
In coalition with the No-Fly List is the TSC, the Terrorist Screening Center, this section of the FBI is in charge of dealing with specifically terrorists. The FBI summarises in an article on their website:
“Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the President and Congress mandated that federal executive departments and agencies share terrorism information with those in the counterterrorism community responsible for protecting the homeland. In 2003, the Terrorist Screening Center (TSC) was created to fulfill that mandate” (Terrorist Screening Center).
Through many programs created by the government post 9/11, citizens of the United States are now much safer from terrorism
While many freedoms are taken away due to increased security and many amenities of flying are no longer existing. Flying in the United States is much safer, due to the creation of the Transportation Security Administration, the creation of the no fly list, Terrorist Screening Center, and much more intensive security measures, the United States of America is a much safer place. While the future of homeland security is extremely unpredictable, without a shadow of a doubt the United States in the last 20 years has done an extremely well job in improving airline safety and homeland security and preventing many terrorists attacks that could of damaged the country.
- O’Connor, Lydia. “This Is What It Was Like To Go To The Airport Before 9/11.” The Huffington Post, TheHuffingtonPost.com, 11 Sept. 2016, www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/airports-before-911_us_57c85e17e4b078581f11a133.
- “The Golden Days of Air Travel: How Glorious Were They?” CNN, Cable News Network, 26 May 2012, www.cnn.com/travel/article/nostalgia-travel/index.html.
- Ross, Brian, et al. “10 Years Later: 9/11 Security Then and Now.” ABC News, ABC News Network, 8 Sept. 2011, abcnews.go.com/Blotter/10-years-911-security-now/story?id=14466068.
- “9/11’s Profound Effects on Air Travel.” PBS, Public Broadcasting Service, 8 Sept. 2011, www.pbs.org/newshour/nation/how-911-changed-air-travel.
- “Drastic Changes in Airport Security After 9/11 Stir Controversy.” PBS, Public Broadcasting Service, 8 Sept. 2011, www.pbs.org/newshour/show/drastic-changes-in-airport-security-after-9-11-stir-controversy.
- HARMAN, JANE. “The Second Decade After 9/11: Should Our Homeland Security Response Be Different?.” [“Vital Speeches of the Day”]. Vital Speeches of the Day, vol. 79, no. 7, July 2013, pp. 222-224. EBSCOhost, stacks.tridenttech.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=khh&AN=90419699&site=ehost-live.
- “TSA 2015 Year in Review.” Transportation Security Administration, 20 June 2017, www.tsa.gov/blog/2016/01/21/tsa-2015-year-review.
- “How Does the U.S. No Fly List Work?” Hg.org, www.hg.org/article.asp?id=31742.
- “Terrorist Screening Center.” FBI, FBI, 1 Feb. 2017, www.fbi.gov/about/leadership-and-structure/national-security-branch/tsc.
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