Enjoy a Slice of Security complimentary from the DHS
When historic events and personal lives meet, our backs tend to straighten, ears perk, and minds immediately enter into a nostalgic state. Who can blame us? The story spices up a bit when we enter the picture.
I find myself looking forward to the day I get to sit my nonexistent children by the couch and share with them the simpler times before an event widely known as 9/11. I’d say something along the lines of, “Now listen, on September 11, 2001, Momma was just about your age when teachers stopped lessons, turned on the TV, and began dismissing children one by one out of class. None of the students knew what was going on, but some were crying. I remained staring at the news report with my other classmates whose parents were at work. The whole country was in state shock and panic.” Then I’d debrief them on the effects of the terrorist attack. For instance, the USA Patriot Act was created. It gave law enforcement officials power to conduct searches without warrants, monitor financial transactions and eavesdrop, and secretly detain and deport individuals suspected of committing terrorist acts.
However, I am more directly affected by the Department of Homeland Security which was established shortly after 9/11 in order to safeguard against terrorism. The DHS has set up many government agencies as well as protection systems. Perhaps that also would be a good opportunity to explain to my kids why we don’t travel as much. “Sorry kids, if it weren’t for an episode titled, ‘Airport Woes’ before each vacation, maybe we would be going to Disneyland Paris this July” . Then I would provide a description of the carefree travel days prior to having to arrive at the airport 2 hours early, waiting through lines longer than last season’s American Idol auditions, having your hairspray confiscated, along with your travel nail manicure set, and the bottle of French wine you spent 30 euros on. I would tell them of a time prior to running to your currently boarding flight while both trying to fix your shoes and think of a new souvenir to bring back that preferably cost less than 30 euros. “Did you know that family members used to be able to wait for you at the terminal? Like in those old movies which aren’t really that old… take Love Actually for example, they would greet you with flowers and hugs right when you stepped off the airplane! Those were special times.” You could even greet your brother-in-law with a loud and enthusiastic, “HI JACK!” without having the airport police swarm over you. Maybe that is exaggerating it a little, but it would help emphasize the precaution measures that the entire United States has to accommodate to.
Despite the extra hassle it throws on travelers, these acts have often protected against terrorist attacks, and since 2001, have exposed two bombing attempts. Richard Reid, was found guilty of hiding explosives in his shoes, marking 2002 as the year when Americans everywhere were, for the first time, handed gray plastic tubs to send their shoes off on a 5 minute journey through Fancy Scanning Equipment. Okay, yes, I’d gladly take off my shoes for 5 minutes if it means not being spontaneously blown up while in the air. Sometimes, we just have to verbally remind ourselves to be thankful that we live in a country that actually cares about the security of its inhabitants.