open thread terrorism

9/11 Plus 20: Open Thread

A terrible thing that led to many other terrible things.

Open thread, no trolls or conspiracy mongering.

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48 replies on “9/11 Plus 20: Open Thread”

We were on a plane that morning, flying from Philadelphia back home to Texas.

There was a woman in the airport whose mother worked at the Pentagon, but luckily had attended an off-site breakfast meeting when the plane hit.

My husband’s grandmother cried when I called her because she’d heard about United 93 and didn’t know if it was our plane until she heard my voice.

When I called my mother to let her know we were alive, she stayed absolutely calm until the end of the conversation: “But you’re okay. My babies are all okay.” (One of my younger sisters had also been traveling that day.)

The next day we went grocery shopping, and when I was pushing the cart through a crowd, I had a vivid flashback to being in the luggage area, and a small part of my brain thought, “Ah, so THIS is what a traumatic flashback feels like.” The rest of my brain was working overtime to keep me from screaming.

At one point at the airport, Mr. Parasol had gone off to see if he could find out anything while I stayed with the luggage. I later learned that an airport worker tried to get him to join the evacuation and he had to say, “My wife is back there – can I get her?” One of the scariest moments in our marriage.

There was an older man talking to a friend on the phone: “Strap your boots on, major – we’re going to war.”

There was an airline employee who nearly lost her temper with a man who didn’t want to wait for an answer while she was helping other people.

We made it home, ordered pizza, and started crying on the couch as we ate.

I didn’t find out about 9/11 until shortly after midnight. Wed been tied up on something, but when we stepped out into Fleet Street it was instantly apparent something was up.

Like, even at that time of morning, there’s normally a buzz and hubbub in the City; and it just wasn’t there. Then we saw an Evening Standard placard that said “America Under Attack”. It’s such cliche, but it really did feel like one of those post apocalyptic movies. Like, everyone had just vanished.

The eery feeling carried on for the next few days. A lot of ‘official’ buildings had closed. But there was like this subdued feeling. And also the absence of sounds that you never noticed until they weren’t there. Especially the aeroplanes overhead of course.

Paradoxically, the aftermath of 7/7 was much less disorienting to me, and it seemed a lot of other people, even though I was very nearly caught up in that. I guess it’s because by then we’d all been told it was just a matter of when not if London would be targeted. So there wasn’t the sudden paradigm shifting shock of 9/11. Bizarrely it was almost cathartic. We’d been subconsciously living with the expectation, and background level anxiety, so long when it finally happened it was almost a relief if that makes sense?

I was between jobs, so I slept in and stumbled down the stairs to where the TV was in the family room, and in that soft bright, white light of morning, there were the most bizarre images on the screen. A building collapsing like a fountain, pouring down the sides.

I knew a medic in New York City who was called to duty that day, but he told me later how most folks either walked out or died.

My oldest had succumbed to sophomore slump the year before 2001, and caved in to the recruiters who prowl campuses with nets to get students like him. We weren’t at war then, he was educated, and they were going to train him in a really cool high tech specialty. What could go wrong?

But starting that day, they lined them all up in the barracks and had them make their wills. He called me to make sure I knew what he wanted done with his remains. He came back, but they don’t come back 100% normal even if they aren’t obviously injured.

Over a decade later, I had a friend at work in Colorado tell me how one of his colleagues couldn’t make a New York meeting, so a female colleague had volunteered to go in his place. The meeting was in one of the towers.

The international goodwill shown towards the US in the immediate aftermath was something to behold. Remember people saying “today, we’re all American”? It wasn’t entirely mawkish: there was a genuine feeling that what had happened was something new, something which had to bring us together. Well, that certainly got squandered pretty quickly.

I was across the river in Jersey working. When a colleague walked by my door and told me that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. I first thought about some idiot in a Cessna. Then I thought “Wait a minute, New York airspace is guarded, however discreet it may be, there’s no way…” and that is when another colleague put their head in and gave more detail.
I watched the plane hit the second tower and the Pentagon, in shock along with the rest of the world. It was difficult to believe that the United States was under a large scale attack. Our oceans, hubris, geopolitical strength has always made us seem unassailable. I realize this wasn’t a good thing but it added to the shock that day. For many other than myself I’m sure.
Now we’ve had a twenty year war where we left the people in charge whom we supposedly went to fight. I’m still trying to get my head around that one. So many dead and for what? Apocalyptic visions? On both sides?
The tragedies keep multiplying.

I was sick in bed, and had gone to sleep with the local Adult Standards station playing nostalgic comfort music; I awoke to something considerably less soothing, and recall having had a feeling of despondent confirmation rather than disbelief or denial: well, it’s finally happened. The rest of the world is full of millennias’ accumulation of ruined places of worship and defaced statues*, and the US has made no shortage of enemies (as well as homegrown miscreants —as Oklahoma City had demonstrated and the anthrax scare* would underscore.)

@Alan Robertshaw:

Paradoxically, the aftermath of 7/7 was much less disorienting to me, and it seemed a lot of other people, even though I was very nearly caught up in that. I guess it’s because by then we’d all been told it was just a matter of when not if London would be targeted. So there wasn’t the sudden paradigm shifting shock of 9/11. Bizarrely it was almost cathartic. We’d been subconsciously living with the expectation, and background level anxiety, so long when it finally happened it was almost a relief if that makes sense?

You guys also had people who’d experienced the Blitz, so there wasn’t that stunned how-could-this-happen-to-us? incredulity. (Pearl Harbor and Kiska and Attu occurred well outside the mainland.)

*As is the U.S., but they didn’t belong to the people who’ve had the luxury of regarding themselves as the default.

**A memory from October 2001: I recall arriving one evening to the discount store across the parking lot from my home, to find it evacuated, shoppers and staff milling on the sidewalk (including an Indian acquaintance who was very anxious indeed—with reason, given the Open Season on Brown Folks.) The investigating fire chief, with an exasperated expression, was holding up a plastic bag of white powder and a half-empty jar of household cleanser.

@ full metal ox

so there wasn’t that stunned how-could-this-happen-to-us? incredulity

I suppose also, because of London’s experience during The Troubles, there was a bit of an, ah well, here we go again, mindset.


I suppose also, because of London’s experience during The Troubles, there was a bit of an, ah well, here we go again, mindset.

Yes. Like most Londoners still around in 2001, the blitz was before my time, but I remembered the Provos doing their thing, and you do kind of adjust to it after a while. Eddie Izzard had a whole bit about this: “…and you sort of build it into your programme, you know? You say ‘what, this whole road is closed off? Oh right, er, there’s another Boots the Chemist in, uh, Tottenham Court Road, so I’ll… it’s no problem, ok'”

@ moggie

you do kind of adjust to it after a while.

Yeah. I have very distinct memories of my first train ride (to Leeds) when I was five. It was held up because of a bomb scare, and my mum had to explain what that was. And as I think we’re of not dissimilar age you’re probably familiar with how that was just background for a few decades. I actually heard the South Quay bomb go off; and I just knew instantly what it had to be. But it was so like the Eddie Izzard thing.

I think another major difference between 9/11 and 7/7 was that the latter didn’t really leave any visible trace. In New York the towers were obvious from their absence. A constant reminder. But of course most of 7/7 was underground. There was just one moment of ‘reality’ for me. I was strolling around (the courts were all closed again) and I wondered into Russell Square; and the bus was still there. That brought it home a bit. But not on a personal level; just feeling for the people who had been on that bus. I did divert. Not because it was disturbing or anything; but it felt disrespectful to just be carrying on so normally with that bus being present.

For me on the west coast as an 8th grader I woke feeling distraught and and sick that day. For no reason I could identify. About the time my mom ca!led me in sick to school the second plane hit on live TV. Moments before I felt a wave if disorientation, shock, and numbness. I was a numb shell for the next couple of days.

I don’t know if psychic, or empathic abilities are real. I just know that on that day I felt it before I saw it and that it debilitated me.

I’m not the first person to say this, but the remembrances of the people who died that day feel so hollow in the midst of a pandemic in which in just the US alone at least 217 times that have died, a 9/11 worth of people die every couple of days, and no one seems to really care.

Also, I’m incredibly disgusted by the refusal of so many, especially in the corporate media to ever connect current events with past events. There’s so much reverence for George W Bush I’ve been seeing the past couple of days. So much praise for his speech decrying extremism at home. As if the racist, authoritarian frenzy his administration encouraged after 9/11 isn’t why we’re here today.

I just fucking hate it so much.

I was raised in a rather sheltered fashion, but had enough understanding of war and how people on this planet are always killing each other over something or another, so unfortunately my first thought was something to the effect of: “Oh, that’s interesting. How upset should I pretend to be to make the adults happy and think I care?”

That sounds, well, horrific. My only excuse is obviously my sheltered upbringing was not condusive to developing empathy for, or relating to, other people. I had to work on that later.

Seeing how I feel about Covid and people suffering from it, I have to admit, part of me isn’t sure developing empathy was that great an idea.

I almost booked a flight home from visiting my parents for 9/11, because I usually traveled on Tuesday afternoons.

But for some reason I’ve never been able to explain, I went for Monday evening that one time.

Boy, was I glad to be home instead — and not have to get home by sitting up for days on a cross-country train.

My high school classmate’s father was on board the plane that crashed into the north tower. I remember the shock and terror as the day unfolded, with all the rumors swirling around about unaccounted for planes still in the air and coordinated school shootings. The phone lines into NYC were jammed. It was well into the evening before I found out my brother, who worked next door to the towers, was safe. Information was scarce that day.

Adding to the chaos, around noon someone called in a bomb threat to the Social Security office one floor below us. We had to evacuate. Then a gunman attempted to rob the bank on the first floor. It seemed like the whole world had gone mad. Our company did the sensible thing and sent us home for the day. When I got home, my racist POS landlady had been watching Fox News and was all up in arms about “Arabs dancing in the street in New Jersey” (which even in the moment was obviously fake news). I remember feeling deeply sad, knowing that Bush and Cheney were going to seize on the attacks as an excuse to start a war and expand the police state.

Two of the hijackers started off in Portland. To this day, I still feel sick to my stomach when I drive past the hotel where they stayed and the Staples where they bought their boxcutters.

@Alan: I remember an IRA bomb went off in NI while I was visiting London, and I think there were bombs in Britain proper in the 90s.

But none of them were live on TV worldwide.


I’m not the first person to say this, but the remembrances of the people who died that day feel so hollow in the midst of a pandemic in which in just the US alone at least 217 times that have died, a 9/11 worth of people die every couple of days, and no one seems to really care.

Ah, but COVID-19 doesn’t have oil.

I remember an IRA bomb went off in NI while I was visiting London, and I think there were bombs in Britain proper in the 90s.

There were, 80’s and 90’s both. 35 from the IRA ranging from “idiot blows himself up on the bus when he sneezed while carrying a bomb” to “a ton and a half of bang destroying half of Bishopsgate”, one by a guy trying to kill Salman Rushdie, and a few others.

Mortar attack on Downing Street in 91, as well. That were slightly amusing – was up town for the day for a briefing three buildings along, and we all just looked at each other for a minute when they went off then carried on with what we were doing.

I’m not going to lie, the feeling of relief that I was no longer eligible to be called up to active duty after 9/11 filled me with the worst combination of shame and relief. (I had gotten out of the Army in ’99 and you’ve got a period of time where you can be called back up. Inactive Ready Reserve they called it. My period of that had literally just expired September of 2001).

After I heard the news reports on 9/11, I decided I should stock up on food. I walked to the natural foods store in Berkeley, where I lived. The streets were eerily empty and silent. There were just a few people in the store, and I heard only murmurs of conversation. Then I heard someone laugh loudly. I knew then that we were still alive. I knew that I was still alive.

I’m not an American, and my memory of 9/11 is not related to mourning the victims of the attacks, but recoiling at facade that was ripped away.

I had logged in to MUSH where I played regularly, and I was chatting this and that with waking up American crowd. Suddenly someone cried on public channel that WTC tower had been hit. Some daft protester in a Cessna? Oklahoma bombing — and ideology that went with it — was reasonably fresh in my memory. No, a bigger plane. A way bigger plane.

Suddenly everything went from confusion into revealed White rage. People who had been talking just moments ago about D&D rules or food or whatever, began to froth about getting their guns and shooting some <slur slur slur slur> right now.

By the time Pentagon and second tower were hit, I was basically baiting them to stay online and scream at me instead of doing all those terrible things they were telling they were going to do, any moment, right now.

I stayed online some 16 to 17 hours doing this, while one plane diverted and crashed, and air traffic halted down; I must have heard roughly every possible slur related to Arabic people and people who just aren’t White. I heard every detail of what must be done to their countries, their culture, their history, their people — children, women, elderly alike, and every bit of it turned my stomach.

The exact location did not matter, much — the entirety of Middle-East must pay for this, seemed to be the message.

The whole thing was like that final reveal in Scooby Doo episode except underneath the non-scary monster mask is actually unspeakable eldritch abomination ready to eat your face and destroy the world.

I remember when I was in’s Tangency forum, arguing against war (especially in Iraq) and how that got me branded; it is a funny coincidence that some of those people are right now yes, yes, war is v. bad.

It turns my stomach that almost all of those vengeance scenarios seem to have played out, and how many lives have been killed, murdered, manslaughtered, harmed, injured, damaged and violated, how long it has been going and how long it will keep going, because this is not over yet, no matter what some people in America want to believe.

With all the 9/11 remembrances right now… I have to admit I was “eh, whatever, yet another tragedy, at least this is far away” and “the USA acts like a spoiled toddler again” over it back then.

For context: I’m Hungarian and back then I also was a 21 years old college student, who spoke very little English, so I got most of my info from local news. And there was a fucking war just outside our southern border since forever… at that point the bombing of Yugoslavia was 2 years ago, the Yugoslav Revolution was a year ago, a big chunk of my life was in the shadow that this might get worse and us getting pulled into it too.

I remember that afternoon : I am French and was in high school in Toulouse at the time. Back from school, my friend told me to open up the tv because something horrible was happening in New York. Almost 10 mins after learning a plane had crashed in the first tower I watched live as the 2nd plane crashed in the second tower. The all afternoon was so terrible, and from far away so surreal…
Then 10 days later a chemical plant exploded and blew up half my city (same type of chemical that exploded in Lebanon in 2019). It was my turn to think I would not make it. We all thought of those poor people in the towers at that time…

I was 3 in 2001, so I don’t remember much of the day itself, but I remember commemorating/memorializing it in school every year on the anniversary. I also remember at least one 9/11 memorial event at the church I went to as a kid.
Junior year of high school (so, 2014/15) was the first year that there was no such memorial at school. One day in the early fall, I felt mysteriously depressed, as if I was mourning something but couldn’t remember what it was. Then I looked down at my phone, saw the date, and realized that this was a day I had been conditioned to grieve.
I still don’t know how I feel about that. On the one hand, I think it is important to mourn the deaths of those thousands of people, but on the other hand I feel like I was taught how to feel and what to think about the broader context of American history in which 9/11 happened.
America being at war was something that was always going on in the background of my life, without much thought to the people who were being sent off to fight (they certainly weren’t middle-class suburban kids like us) and the people on whose land they were fighting. I didn’t grow up questioning the justice of our cause – it was assumed, or at least the injustices were ignored.
Now that I’m old enough to think for myself, what I’m thinking about on this anniversary is not only the tragedy that happened 20 years ago, but also the other tragedies it engendered – and one of those is a country where peace seems rare, strange, weak, and almost unacceptable.

I live in the Montreal area, same time zone as New York, so I heard about the plane attacks in the morning, about an hour and a half afterwards. I was in grade 8; I’d just come in from recess and was reading a book when I was supposed to be doing other work.

Those sorts of details can be boring, but the news for the next few weeks made me anxious, especially since NYC wasn’t so far away. I didn’t worry about another world war, but some did; in fact, some people on the writing website I later joined started a thread the same day called “World War Three.” (I was born in ’88, so I never really experienced the nuclear war fears of the previous decades.)

By the time Bush announced the war in Iraq, I was fourteen and very much against it. In Canada, by 2002 at least, it was fashionable to hate on Bush; god knows he deserved it, but it’s not like Canada hadn’t had horribly unfair and racist policies, most of which I didn’t know about yet (“Indian residential” schools, WW2 internment camps for Japanese Canadians, Sixties Scoop…)

@Skiriki, it makes me ashamed that I uncritically accepted some anti-Muslim rhetoric. I didn’t believe the conspiracy theory that all Muslims were (somehow) in on the attacks, but I still swallowed some unfair ideas (e.g. when the Christian school I went to decided that the Harry Potter books were bad, I joked that maybe the character was secretly a Muslim). Ugh. I was only 13 and the Christian school played a part, but I should have known better.

Missus and I were out shopping. Were in the reserves then and teaching (our kids were a handful at the best of times, making their teen years “interesting,” to say the least, so I were needed at home) and for some reason I had the day off. Store was one of those cheap warehouse type places, guy at the counter had a little TV playing. First plane hit, he announced it over the tannoy and closed the store. We went home and turned on the TV. Totally numb, the pair of us as details came out.

After a bit, missus says “Kids will be home soon. You’d better report in for active duty before they call you. It might give you a choice of assignment.”

Odd day.

Beautiful clear morn. I might have heard something on the bus but paid no attention. In the convenience store I heard someone talking on the radio about feeling something hit the building and I was all, “Did I miss an earthquake?” Then I arrived at work [7, Pacific time] and found out it was something else.
We couldn’t concentrate all that well that day. I had my Walkman on as usual and I recall telling someone that the 2nd tower had fallen. I went home and called Mom, also emailed a couple friends. I don’t think we could comfort each other all that well.
Next morn I woke up and felt fine for a few seconds till I remembered–. Crawled out, dressed and pulled the shades–there was Jupiter, always a fine sight, but it was this close to a crescent moon. So much like an Islamic motif (I think) that I wondered, not hearing anyone else mention it, if they’d chosen that day for that reason.
For weeks I was a bit spooked about going downtown [into Seattle]. I wondered how some people so scantily armed could take over whole planes, just as I wondered how a bigger bunch could just insurrect the way they did on Jan. 6 and get as far as they did. I was more comforted than I expected by seeing everyone else going about their lives as best they could.
But are we really safe now?

I was in Japan. I was doing homework and my host sister ran up the stairs shouting “the World Trade Center is crashing!” I was really confused because as far as I knew, the buildings couldn’t move and thus “crash”. It turns out she meant that the plane had crashed into Tower 1.

We sat mesmerized and I just translated as best I could. I kept thinking about the 1993 attack and thought because the towers had survived that there was hope.

This all happened at night for me. It was technically 9/12 for me when the towers collapsed. After that, the Japanese media treated the twin towers falling like we do events in other countries – they talked about for a week then never mentioned it again. Honestly, I’m glad it was like that because we got to heal from it without being surrounded by it.

After spending the day going “well fuck now what?” we and our friends went to a chain restaurant, demanded they turn off the TVs (there wasn’t any new news by 11pm Eastern, and there was only one other table occupied), and had giant fruity drinks and giant rare steaks with steak fries.

Because there was going to be a war, for all we knew some other terrorists were going to do something else that big soon, so by golly we were gonna go out drunk and full of cholesterol and starch.

A friend of the family was a paratrooper, and he shipped out that week, for months.

We were at a small fair a couple weeks later, and I remember saying through a mouthful, “Taliban ain’t got funnel cake.” Obviously they do have something similar, every culture does, but still.

I didn’t know about any of it until it was all over. I’d just moved to my then apartment and gone out that morning to the pharmacy and vaguely heard something about the Pentagon while filling my scrip but didn’t think about it, then went back to my place to take a nap. Then my mother called me and told me what had happened. It sounded so… unreal. Disaster movie fodder. And then I turned on the TV, and the disaster movie footage was real. Watching the North Tower’s antenna going down as the building collapsed is still a memory of visceral horror.

I remember– I don’t know if was NBC or not– them interviewing Tom Burnett’s family. (He’d been on Flight 93.) It brought home the sense and scale of loss, and I remember grieving for them. And the rest of the stories that came out brought home the sense of the banality and viciousness of evil. Not to mention all the chest-beating going on had me going “oh, god, here we go.”

Twenty years later, we have proof of even more banal and vicious evil. And the United States is making it. Taking the real horror and loss and grief and heroism of that day, and using it as a wankrag to get the mindlessly fanatical into a frothing mess and to enrich Haliburton and its ilk in the following decades. We have met the enemy and they is also us.

I was at a work picnic in a place with no mobile coverage, so we all stayed in happy ignorance and had a good time.
My son has never been fond of crowds, so we left him at home with a babysitter. As soon as it came on the news she turned the TV off because this was clearly not child-friendly. That meant she knew very little about what was happening. When I finally got home at 7 pm London time, she told me that there had been a very serious terrorist attack in London.

That made it pretty personal.

On the morning of 7/7 I flew out of (I think) Luton airport shortly before anything happened. It turned out to be the same airport that the mastermind had flown out of, after sending his pawns to their deaths. The news caught up with me in Madrid. For the rest of the journey, people were commiserating as soon as they realised. They meant really well, but it almost always took the form of, “These [expletive slurs].” I said over and over and over again, “There are about a million British Muslims who are just as horrified as the rest of us. I don’t blame them at all. I blame the ten or so people who actually did this.”
These days I also blame the racists who sent the terrorists down that path.

On Sept 11, 2001, I worked on a military base (of all places) in Pennsylvania. I wasn’t a government employee, I was a low-level contractor. I remember asking someone at work, “Are we safe here?”. Then realizing it was a dumb question. The person responded by saying that the base we were on, hadn’t been a target since the Cold War.

Someone in Hawaii called me, asking if they were likely to be let out early from work. They kept LAUGHING…not because
anything was funny, but due to shock. Due to the time zones, they’d just started work.

When the plane hit the Pentagon, someone in a cubicle near me, happened to be on a conference call with someone working IN the Pentagon. I heard him say, ” We’ve been hit! The whole place shook!”

We were let out of work at around 2:30.

The whole day was so very surreal…the weather was so very beautiful in the northeastern US, that day. I still have the clothing I wore that day, in the back of my closet. I don’t know what I’m keeping them for.

I was skipping school (as usual) and my elder brother came home and turned the TV on. My brother didn’t say anything, but hearing the commotion of the newscast from the next room tore me from my pirated copy of Monkey Island 2 (I don’t know what it says about me that I still remember what videogame I was playing 20 years later).
I didn’t know what to make of it, I was in my early teens and Manhattan was half a world away.
Nobody in perennially neutral Sweden was much worried about being attacked.


The weather was glorious in central Illinois too, that day. It only made everything all the more surreal.

@Buttercup Q Skullpants: Someone I worked with at the time, had a cousin who worked in the towers (I don’t know which one), and they died. My own cousin was a NYPD officer at the time.

Right after 9/11, I’m ashamed to admit my feelings were that we should vaporize the entire middle east. But, that feeling didn’t last for very long. I did do some research on Islam, and US policy towards the middle east, that helped to open my eyes, and GROW THE HELL UP.

Going to war with Iraq didn’t make any sense to me. After all, the Iraqis didn’t attack us. And couldn’t, even if they wanted to.

@Banananananana Dakry: I know, the gorgeous weather just seemed so obscene at the time.

To all the people who were too young to remember the attacks: I’m sorry you never experienced life pre-9/11. I remember literally running out onto the tarmac to catch a plane, in 2000, baggage in hand.


To all the people who were too young to remember the attacks: I’m sorry you never experienced life pre-9/11. I remember literally running out onto the tarmac to catch a plane, in 2000, baggage in hand.

This 1977 Hertz Rental Car commercial demonstrates on at least two counts that The Past Was A Different Country:


Or being able to have your friends you were visiting around while waiting at the departure gate even though they didn’t have a ticket. That’s gone.

Or being able to cross the Canada-U.S. border with nothing more than a standard drivers licence.

There’s a musical production called ‘Come From Away‘ which was all about how the town of Gander in Newfoundland ended up being host to several thousand diverted people when U.S. airspace shut down that day.

Me, when I left home that day just barely after the first plane had hit and people still thought it might have been an accident. I ended up selecting replacement roofing tile that morning and wondering why everybody was in the back before I got to work and found out what had actually happened.

@Alan Robertshaw: Didn’t the UK/Europe in general already have fairly stringent security measures in place, RE: commercial flights, decades before the US did? When I was in high school, mid-80s, I did a report on the Red Brigades’ terrorism in Europe. I seem to remember something about that.

I got to see the cockpit of a little passenger plane, during a flight from Northwest Nowhere, Pennsylvania, to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1979.

@Full Metal Ox: LOL! 1977 was, coincidentally, the first year I flew. I was 10 years old. I remember there was an issue at JFK airport, because my parents didn’t have my and my sister’s birth certificates, and we were flying internationally, to the Bahamas. I remember being asked, “Are these your parents?”. And giggling and saying Yes. I don’t remember how it was resolved.

I remember those OJ Hertz ads.

@ dormousing_it

I did a quick google to see if I could find out then the rules changed. Can’t find that; but I was a bit surprised to find out you are still allowed to visit the cockpit prior to take-off! Apparently the CAA regulations are a bit less strict than the FAA ones.

I do remember how hijacking was a bit of thing. Like all those “Take this bus to Cuba” jokes.

Honestly, the ‘take this plane to Cuba’ form of hijacking was enough of a thing that the 9/11 hijackers actually seemed to rely on it. After all, people hijacking planes to Cuba (or wherever) usually wanted to get there in one piece, so weren’t going to do anything to damage the plane, which meant that just going along with them often was the best way to make sure that everybody survived the situation.

The plane that didn’t hit its designated target, after all, was one where enough news reports got onto the plane that they realized what was going on, and if they were all going to die anyway, well, there was nothing to be lost, was there?

The fact that there haven’t been many hijackings since 9/11 probably has as much to do with the realization by potential hijackers that the rules have changed and that taking over a plane is more likely to result in an active fight as it has to do with the actual airport security precautions.

@ jenora

the ‘take this plane to Cuba’ form of hijacking was enough of a thing that the 9/11 hijackers actually seemed to rely on it

Have you seen that 9/11 Tapes documentary? It’s all the audio from the day with the people involved commenting on it. There’s a bit from military air traffic control. They were doing an exercise when they got news of the hijacking. When it’s confirmed it’s ‘real world’ one of the operators says “Oh, cool”. She obviously feels bad about that now; but at the time there hadn’t been a hijacking for years; and pretty much every one ended safely. The hijackers would get their publicity, land in some friendly country, and all the passengers would be released unharmed. So the controllers all just assumed it would be a matter of working with the negotiators to get the plane safely to the new destination. And as you rightly say, the 9/11 hijackers seemed to be relying on that. There’s a rather disturbing bit of audio where the hijackers pressed transmit on the radio rather than the public address, and they are reassuring the passengers that if they all just keep calm they’ll be safe.

Rules about accessing the cockpit tightened up massively after 9/11. Before then, half the time the cockpit door was either propped open or had a sock stuffed in the lock so the crew could get in and out easily.
After – nope. Buzz, wait for the pilots to check you on camera, then they’ll unlock the door. There is a code entry if the pilots don’t unlock, say one on deck is incapacitated for some reason.
Missus used to bitch like hell about it since it slowed her down.

@ threp

There is a code entry if the pilots don’t unlock, say one on deck is incapacitated for some reason.

But then there’s the ability of the pilots to block the keypad. Which of course was the issue on Germanwings 9525. Now Lufthansa has a rule that there must always be two people on the flight deck at all times. But it just goes to show how hard getting the balance for aircraft security is.

@Jenora Feuer

Or being able to cross the Canada-U.S. border with nothing more than a standard drivers licence.

I remember being able to do that at the Mexico-U.S. border.

One of my chief memories as a direct result of 9/11 is standing on a street corner at a massive anti-war rally, entirely filling the streets of a city I have never seen filled before or since, even during the BLM protests. I was telling my sister’s then-boyfriend how to really support his protest chanting, because he was shocked at how loud I was without a megaphone. I told him it was because of my vocal training as a singer and he needed to breathe from his belly. We were all being watched by rows and rows of riot cops from the bridges above.

@Big Titty Demon:

That is awesome you can get that kind of volume! I am also a singer and I’ve worked really hard to be able to get any kind of volume – I used to not be able to project at all, and now I definitely can. What kind of singing do you do?

Also, that protest sounds really cool. The entire world marched. There were protests in a lot of countries. I joined one in Tokyo.

We all fucking knew it wasn’t Afghanistan that attacked the US.

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