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I wish to offer my condolences to any members affected directly by the
terrorist attacks in the US, as well as to every civilized person who cannot
think of this situation without becoming seriously disturbed. A big
concern, as I write this the day after the event, is that many won?t know
for many days whether a family member, loved one, or friend is alive or
dead. Another obvious concern is ?Could it happen again ??
Many here in the Boston area feel angry that our airport had such poor
security as to allow terrorists to board the two planes involved in the
attack on New York City. Right now at the office I?m listening to a report
on WRKO that the FBI is conducting a raid on Boston?s Westin Hotel; one or
more suspects are being taken into custody for questioning.
The pilot of one of the planes lived in Dracut, MA, the hometown of my
supervisor at Analog Devices. This pilot, the same age as me, leaves a wife
and three children. Two people who worked with a former employer of mine,
Raytheon, are known to be dead.
At home, at work, and on the talk shows there have been many different
threads of conversation. My wife remembers 1986 when I had to fly on
business trips to Texas every month. My son can?t figure out why so many
would hate Americans they never met. A discussion I heard reminded me that
some of the nastiest conflicts in history were based on ?My God?s better
than your God.? A few guys I know who had served in the military expressed
desires to re-enlist. Many want to donate blood. One conversation remarked
how many more firefighters were killed in NY than in the large Worcester, MA
warehouse file a couple of years ago. At the time of that fire, New York
City firemen came up to the funerals in Worcester to show their support.
Some remembered other tragic days in their lives: the assassination of
President Kennedy, the Challenger crash, and Oklahoma City.
There was talk about the intelligence agencies (NSA, CIA, FBI) and whether
communications could have been intercepted in time. There?s supposed to be
a Project ECHELON that can scoop up and store most cellphone and other radio
communications. What I don?t know is how real-time usage of this mass of
information can be done. Maybe things can be sorted out after the fact, but
that doesn?t give you time to save the victims.
On a broadcasting note, most Boston music stations abandoned their formats
and took feeds from local and national news and talk outlets.
For a while flights aren?t available, but even as they are restored I think
a lot of us are going to re-think the wisdom of air travel in the near term.
Getting in and out of airports is going to be a ?bear?. At this point I
don?t know whether I?ll be going to Newfoundland in November even though
I?ve already paid for the trip. Maybe I?ll just drive down to the Cape
instead. One of the guys at work is getting married this weekend. Some of
the people going to his wedding are supposed to be coming from California,
others from North Carolina. He and his bride to be are supposed to be going
to Hawaii for the honeymoon. I think they?ll wind up in Hyannis instead.
Americans all got used to flying like it was taking a crosstown bus. I
think those days, as well as our general feelings of security and
invincibility, will fade into history. Life will be different for all of
us, whether or not we knew any of the victims personally.
My sympathies and prayers to all ? Mark
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