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Fear of Dying While Flying
By Ed Driscoll · October 2, 2007 12:31 PM · War And Anti-War

Annie Jacobsen has some thoughts on the death of Carol Ann Gotbaum, the 45-year old woman found dead in an airport holding cell at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport an hour after being arrested on a disorderly conduct charge:

Let’s be clear about who the boogeyman is at airports. It’s not the beefy security guards, nor is it the airport police. The bad guy is the Islamic terrorist who has his or her heart set on taking out another group of planes. It’s the Islamic terrorist who, according to National Counterterrorism Director John Scott Redd, is plotting something, “not unlike the U.K. aviation threat last year.” Passengers know this—it’s not “lack of information” that makes the heart go thump in the chest. And none of this means any of us should refuse to fly. What it means is that it’s time for anyone who wants to, to admit their fear of dying while flying without being called a racist, a coward or a xenophobe.

Three years ago, I unwittingly made a public name for myself expressing my fear and outrage over the behavior of 13 mala fide Syrians—posing as musicians and acting like terrorists—who were traveling alongside me and my family on a Northwest Airlines cross-country flight. The White House Homeland Security Council ordered a federal investigation of what happened on the flight; the results verified my account. That took three years. But in the meantime, I hardly felt it necessary to pretend I wasn’t afraid. On that flight, my heart rate mimicked that of a Formula One driver, a mugging victim, and a parachutist in a free-fall. And sometimes, when I’m in airports today, my heart rate rises again. This has nothing to do with long lines, unfriendly staff, burly security or men in blue. It’s the sometime-experience of fear of dying while flying. I have it, others have—you might have it too.

Don’t blame the police. Face the facts about the terrorists.

Read the whole thing.

Related: "Air travel may be the first industry based on a business model of kidnapping and imprisonment."

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