Flight crisis creates concerns
By Angelina Folchi
The passengers on Flight 253 of Northwest Airlines were everything but merry on Christmas Day, 2009. These travelers were heading to the Detroit Metropolitan Airport from Amsterdam, Netherlands, when Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a Nigerian member of al Quaeda, attempted to detonate a device sewn into his underwear containing PETN, a high-explosive chemical that has been used in several past terror plots. It started a small fire, but Abdulmutallab was quickly restrained by passengers and the flight crew.
To prevent anything like this attack of terrorism from ever happening again, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is taking action. A TSA spokesperson stated, “We have the ability to quickly implement additional screening measures including explosive detective canine teams, law enforcement officers, gate screening, behavior detection and other measures both seen and unseen.”
New scanners are being introduced to all airports in the country with inbound flights to the U.S. The enhanced security screening will show anything abnormal on the passenger or in their clothes.
Jessica Renteria, junior, will be flying for spring break. She said, “If the employees can see everything, then the scanners will definitely prevent future terrorist attacks. It will be nearly impossible for anyone to sneak anything onto a plane.”
Civil liberties advocates are concerned with this procedure, because it is a virtual strip-search, showing every detail of the outline of one’s body.
Senior Abigail Cabrera, a first time flyer, stated, “It’s a violation of privacy, but it’s a safety measure that’s important for us to take.”
TSA assures passengers that their faces are always blurred out, the security worker examining the scan will be the same sex as the person being searched, and all passengers have the option to receive a pat-down from a security worker instead of going through the millimeter wave machine. One man didn’t realize that the screening was optional. He said, “They need to be clearer that you have an option.”
Airports are using these machines in different ways. Some are using them on every passenger; others are using them only if a person sets off an alarm. Airports in Los Angeles, Phoenix, Albuquerque, New York, Denver and Washington, D.C., are already using the scanners. Miami, Detroit and Las Vegas will receive them later in the year.
Another system, called the Barringer lonscan 400B, is used to detect explosives. Quick bursts of air are blown at the traveler and the machine “sniffs” the air. The system has a library of 40 types of explosives against which it can judge results.
Some passengers object to the bomb sniffer, because it can also test for drugs. A member of the American Civil Liberties Union asks if people really want to be turning airport security personnel into the Drug Enforcement Administration. The TSA’s true purpose is to keep planes safe.
TSA is encouraging passengers to remain observant and aware of their surroundings. They should report any suspicious behavior or activity to law enforcement officers. Passengers do not need to do anything differently, but they may notice additional security measures at the airport. They should also give themselves more time before their flight.
President Obama commented, “The American people should be assured that we are doing everything in our power to make sure you and your family are secure.”
S Club Sponsors Community Read
By Molly Beaver
Loyalton High School’s S Club is sponsoring Loyalton’s first community read, a project that asks a group of people to read the same book, then come together to discuss what they read.
Community reads are often held by libraries in order to bring a community together by reading books that are related to social topics. This read will feature a book on the war on terror through peaceful efforts.
S Club is encouraging community members to read Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin. There are three versions of the book; one for adults, one for young teens, and a picture book entitled Listen to the Wind for children.
Three Cups of Tea is a true story about a registered nurse who loses sight of his guide when hiking K2, the second highest mountain in the Karakorum Range. He wanders into a small Pakistan village and when he sees that the people need a school, he makes a vow to come back and build one.
Greg Mortenson as of this date has either built or substantially supported 131 schools in rural areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan, and has received numerous awards in regard to his humanitarian efforts. These include, the Sitara-e-Pakistan (Star of Pakistan), Pakistan’s highest civilian award. He is the cofounder of the nonprofit Central Asia Institute and founder of Pennies for Peace.
Greg Morteson’s dedication to peace is recognized around the world, especially in the United States. Three Cups of Tea is required reading for senior military commanders in the U.S. Special Forces deploying to Afghanistan and Pentagon officers in counter-insurgency training.
S Club’s Three Cups of Tea discussion event will be held Saturday March 20, at 4 in the afternoon. For more information on the community read, contact Bethany McHenry. To learn more about Three Cups of Tea visit this website