You don’t need me to tell you what kind of weekend it’s been in Glasgow. For the reasons we most dreaded we’ve become the centre of attention from around the world. In all the important questions asked there has been the glaring absence of two key questions: 1. Where were the highly trained bobbies that usually scare you to hell with their sub machine guns? 2. How come a couple of loonies in a jeep can roll up to the front door when the rest of us aren’t even allowed on the road that leads to the entrance?
I guess the reason no one fancies the questions is because the answer is simple. The rapid response polis weren’t there and anyone can drive up to the front door as longs as they drive unsafely and it looks like their vehicle will combust; told ladies in Morris travellers should be kept at a safe distance.
Sorry to sound cynical but for those of us who have the misfortune to use British airports with regularity it’s hard not to be. My firm belief is the public are far too long suffering in this country. There is nothing worse that queuing for hours only to discover a wide variation in the rules when you go through security. We were going through Glasgow recently when one of my esteemed musical colleagues asked politely, ‘Do we take our shoes off?’ As we watched the masses all go ahead of us without taking theirs off the security guy shook himself awake and quickly said, ‘Yes, shoes off.’ You can only imagine the look I gave to Jim.
The thrust of all this is pretty simple. It’s a real pain in the arse doing security checks. But no one minds because they feel, ultimately, they are helping keep everyone alive. What’s harder to stomach is meaningless drivel that’s put there to look efficient when everyone knows it’s a complete waste of time. Then to crown it all it ends up with passengers at the airport trying to land knock out punches on terrorists.
This is not saying the policemen at the airport were hopeless. They were quite the opposite – incredibly heroic. One of the most shocking photographs is of an off duty policeman hosing down a terrorist while clearly he must have been aware his only life was in real danger. God bless you sir.
However the reality which those in authority never give us the credit for realising is the glaring reality that if someone wants to blow something up there’s not too much any of can do. On Saturday the only bit of good news was the the terorists plan was only marginally more useless than BAA’s security strategy. Cold comfort.
Shoes off and polis with guns are just about deterrent and we, by complying, are playing a key part in that.
It’s like the pour souls who take the morning diddy plane to Islay. They need to take their shoes off too, and put their moby in the tray. Insane really.
All this and I fly down to the big smoke tomorrow…..sigh !
I always feel just a taddy bit guilty when any of these things happen outside of the USA. We have so set the bar for screwing up. First responders, police and fire, are never given enough credit or support, anywhere.
Airport security is much like a black widow spiders web, which is woven to allow the lethal lady to never touch the ground, always traveling within her web.
Last summer I had the experience of flying with a large group of people from Phoenix Arizona, USA, to Columbus, Ohio for a Working Families Convention….I was thrown in the mix at the last minute, they needed to fill seats. I was not, am not, the head of this organization, and now am a former employee, though the cause is noble, certain of their business practices are questionable.
Our group went through security check at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport with no problem even though our leader knew full well five of them were illegally in the USA, and one was carrying a switch blade in her carry-on. Immigration Services even walked through our group and spoke with various people….they questioned two at length, me and another young lady. Both of us stood out as being very Anglo. We were the only ones asked to show our ID, again.
Now, what made me even madder, was that they made three young men in their National Guard uniforms, complete with military ID and heavy duffel bags, go through complete inspection, including taking their combat boots off (all of the laces), not once but twice. Because of the length of the lines they it was possible they might miss joining their unit to board their plane to training before being shipped to Iraq.
Being the eternal smart ass that I am (and the mother of young men and two grandsons) and having a government Homeland Security approved ID because I serve on a local government commission, I walked the three young men to the final check point put them in front of me and darned if they did not just sail through….I did not know whether to laugh or cry…..we took the young lady with the switch blade aside and took the knife back to security after she had gone through so she could put it in the suitcase she checked through.
We live in a world of organized chaos and yes, I do believe that there are many experts out there with PHDs…..Pile it Higher and Deeper.
Ricky is right, we have had vehicles make it out on to the runways at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport twice. One was someone wanting to blow something up and the other a drunk who just wanted to see if he could do it.
Peace, Stay Strong.
It does seem somewhat incongruous to on the one hand have these exhaustive security checks at airports, and then on the other find that a relatively crude attack can come so close to causing significant loss of life.
In many ways, though, the car bomb is incredibly hard to combat. It seems that a real element of good fortune has come into play both at Glasgow Airport and here in London in recent days, and I think it’s always worth bearing both that in mind and also the fact that for every attack or would-be attack such as this one, there are clearly a number of others that are averted at earlier stages.
It’s an odd and unsettling time as the sharp reminder of extreme elements in our midst make their presence felt once again. I can’t help but think too that there are common-sense steps that could be taken to alleviate some of the risks we face in our everyday lives, but likewise I think that, sadly, such counter-measures are with us for at least the next generation.
i find that your comment was absolutely spot on.
we can only present an idea of security.
we can only try to put of an attack.
some times we get it right and others it goes so miserable wrong.
i live in luton near the big smoke.
we are famous in the press at the moment for all the wrong reasons.
we as individuals are taking a right battering in the press at the moment.
i wish at times i had never left bonnie scotland but i did and i have to live with the terrorist back lash in my own back yard.
i think that what happend to you guys up there was unavoidable. we can all give advise and say what perhaps should have happened.
but lets be honest with ourselves. these terrorists
will from time to time slip the net.
if you over protect one area you leave another open. no one in the right mind would have dreamed that they would try an attack in that fashion. our eyes can not always be on the ball.
i am sure they would have smashed or run over anything or anyone trying to stop them.
the polis or the security should not be to down hearted.
we may have learned something from this.
at least the biggest casualties were the terrorists themselves. your polis were as you said brave to do what they did.
me i don’t think i would have risked my life to try to save one of them.
to lose my children or to leave them fatherless
for the sake of trying to save a life not worthy.
we lost a polis man at 7:30am the other week he had just started his shift.
he like security etc. took pre-cautions.
he had his stab vest etc. as he attended an incident in town he was brutially attacked and stabed. he lost his life. pre-cautions or not life is flawed and a perpitrator of crime or terror will find his way in. we sould all give thanks that more often than not it is our heroic forces that stop it in time.
thats it, bro
Much the interesting has found here