Forum: Flying fear worsened by terror attack

People tend to think of themselves as invincible and that the universe centers on them. Very rarely do we step aside to think how another person’s life is affected at that very moment – if they have lost a loved one, if they are stressed from work and so on.

I think it is safe to say the terrorist attacks are not something people can read in the paper or watch in the news and then walk away feeling sad for only a moment. This is not something people can eradicate from their minds, because it has affected millions of people across the globe. This is something that everyone can relate to.

The terrorist attacks took many innocent lives and in return have instilled fear in everyone around the world. Many people I know are fearful of flying home to see their parents. Unfortunately, I am one of those people. I am young and still have so much to see and experience on my own. I have always wanted to travel around Europe and was planning to go with my best friend this summer. Now the two of us question whether we should wait. Could we honestly sit on an airplane for eight hours or more feeling safe and secure, wondering if in the next ten minutes our fate will be left in a terrorist’s hands?

The awful truth is that we do not know what is going to happen in the next five minutes. Anything is possible, and yet we never take time to realize our precious lives can be take away from us in the blink of an eye. Very rarely do we see someone questioning whether they are still going to be alive tomorrow.

As morbid and cynical as it sounds, we cannot control many events in our lives, and we are not going to live forever. As a result of the attacks, I now question every sound I hear, every decision I make and how others are going to be affected. People, especially those who are still young, tend to think they live in a bubble protected from harm and evil. But this imaginary bubble does pop occasionally, and it is when this bubble pops that we question everything around us.

I never thought I would have to question the security of an airport. I left my trust and faith in their hands. How on earth were terrorists able to board four different planes on two different airlines? Can we put our trust in security again because we feel that after the events the airlines will implement stronger security procedures?

CNN reported that a man who is normally required to carry a gun for his job passed through security and was walking down the concourse when he realized he had the gun on him. He then reported himself to the authorities. Why did security not see if he had a gun? Fortunately, this man was honest and not a terrorist. But what if he had been? Would more innocent people be deprived of their lives?

These are the questions that vex me, and I am sure they bother many others. I will board an airplane again because there are so many places I want to visit. Will I ever lose the fear that lingers in every muscle and bone in my body? I honestly do not know, but only time will tell.

-The writer is a junior majoring in speech and hearing.

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