Terror Attack Veteran Says Prevention Is The Best Tool
The attempted terror attack at the
Glasgow Airport last weekend -- however apparently botched it was
-- sent waves of apprehension through the global aviation
community. Different airports around the country have responded
with various tactics and efforts in an attempt to protect
themselves from just such an attack, even though the official
terror alert status has been at the second highest level, 'orange,'
since last fall.
"At this point, I have seen no specific, credible information
suggesting that this latest incident is connected to a threat to
the homeland," US Department of Homeland Security secretary Michael
Chertoff said shortly after the Glasgow attack.
At the Mineta San Jose International Airport in California,
police stepped up random vehicle checks, according to the San Jose
Mercury News, and security officers have become more visible to the
public. The San Francisco International Airport hired several extra
San Francisco Police Officers to patrol outside the terminals.
Oakland International Airport increased patrols using the Alameda
County Sheriff's Department and their bomb-sniffing dogs.
According to Denver's Fox 31, the Denver International Airport
has made its security force much more visible and has increased
random vehicle checks including those entering parking lots and
Tampa International Airport in Florida started inspecting
vehicles as they entered the airport and upped their K-9 patrols,
according to the Tampa Tribune.
Barnstable Municipal Airport in Hyannis, MA took a slightly
different approach -- by placing three 10-foot concrete "Jersey"
barriers in front of the glass entrance to the airport terminal,
according to the Cape Cod Times, ostensibly to prevent vehicles
from slamming into the terminal, as a Jeep Cherokee was able to do
Chertoff said Wednesday there was no link between the Glasgow
incident and any possible threat to the US. But, Barnstable
Municipal Airport Manager Quincy "Doc" Mosby felt he should attempt
to address a potential threat... however unlikely it was to occur
in a place like Hyannis.
"The 'softest' part of the terminal is the entrance," he said.
Mosby notes HYA averages about 200,000 passengers a year, making it
the third busiest airport in the state, behind Nantucket Memorial
Airport and Logan International.
"As other targets become hardened, the ones that are softer
could become more desirable targets," said Martha's Vineyard
Airport Manager Sean Flynn. While he did not block that terminal
entrance as HYA did, he also refused to discuss his security
"Every airport manager evaluates his own airport," Flynn
Is all this activity effective? Is
it even necessary? Former London Metropolitan Police Inspector
Anthony Purbrick who has spent the last half century in law
enforcement says good old fashioned teamwork, between a wary public
and law enforcement, is one of the best defenses against terrorist
Pubrick teaches a citizen police academy in Barnstable, and
cites it as a good example of what he is talking about. The class
regularly adds to the more than 500 pairs of eyes already on the
street supporting police, he told the Cape Cod Times.
"They're more aware of things that don't look right, don't smell
right," he said.
Sadly, he and his fellow Londoners are used to violent attacks,
Purbrick said, having withstood assaults during World War II and
terrorist bombings by the Irish Republican Army, but they don't get
overly dramatic about prevention or dwell too much on it.
"You can't really walk about worrying about it," said Graham
Munro, 26, a resident of Massachusetts originally from a small
Scottish town north of Glasgow. He travels back to Scotland several
times each year. "It's not the worst terrorist attack." He said of
the Glasgow Airport incident.
Jeanie Drinkwater immigrated from Scotland some 40 years ago,
still travels extensively and says she doesn't really feel any
different here than in another country.
"You can't let them dictate what you're going to do," she