Patrick Smith, a former pilot, writes about his experiences—involving the police—taking pictures in airports:
He makes sure to remind me, just as his colleague in New Hampshire
had done, that next time I’d benefit from advance permission, and that “we live in a different world now.” Not to put undue weight on the cheap prose of patriotic convenience, but few things are more repellant than that oft- repeated catchphrase. There’s something so pathetically submissive about it—a sound bite of such defeat and capitulation. It’s also untrue; indeed we find ourselves in an altered way of life, though not for the reasons our protectors would have us think. We weren’t forced into this by terrorists, we’ve chosen it. When it comes to flying, we tend to hold the events of Sept. 11 as the be-all and end-all of air crimes, conveniently purging our memories of several decades’ worth of bombings and hijackings. The threats and challenges faced by airports aren’t terribly different from what they’ve always been. What’s different, or “too bad,” to quote the New Hampshire deputy, is our paranoid, overzealous reaction to those threats, and our amped-up obeisance to authority.