CHARLOTTE, NC, March 16, 2014 – No story has dominated the news that is as compelling as the disappearance of a Malaysian jetliner a couple of weeks ago. Everybody is fascinated by a good mystery, especially when reality is stranger than a James Bond script
From a media perspective however, speculation, which is always rampant in such events, has reached new levels of guesswork. That is not only dangerous but a disservice to viewers because they are unable to get accurate information at any given time. Talking heads come out of the woodwork with so-called “expert analysis” but until the facts are known, everything is merely hypothetical.
Oddly enough, when the answers finally do emerge, it is amazing to listen to the news anchors themselves pontificate about how knowledgeable they were throughout the entire investigation process.
While it is important to gather all the information and collect as many details as possible about the incident, all too often there is another aspect of such occasions that is frequently overlooked and which ultimately has far greater implications.
The first Boston Marathon since the terrorist attack in 2013 will take place in a few weeks. Security will be a premium, almost to the point of absurdity. The problem is that this year’s event could probably take place with virtually no security at all. Balderdash, you say? Perhaps, but every terrorist in the world knows that Boston will be the focus of intense scrutiny to the extent that this year’s race will be safer than ever before.
Just look at the Sochi Olympics and all the pre-publicity about “black widows” and security breaches that had supposedly already occurred. Think about the commentary that we could not rely on Russian protection because they were incapable of handling it. Consider all the speculation surrounding the games for weeks before they ever took place.
Then recall the incidents that occurred in the region just a few weeks prior to the opening of the Putin Olympics.
Global terrorism made its point without doing anything. Security was increased at phenomenal expense, yet nothing happened. It was an economic victory for terrorism. It will be the same in Boston in April. The fact is that the safest place to be the day after a hijacking is at the airport.
Terrorism has one huge advantage over its enemies. Even with a 99% success ratio at countering terrorist attacks, the threat of that 1% margin of error lies in the hands of those who perpetuate evil. In other words, complacency about terrorism is NEVER an option.
Indeed we want to know whether the Malaysian catastrophe was the result of rogue pilots, a suicide mission, a terrorist hijacking or whatever other answer might result. But, more importantly, we must also accept and recognize that whatever happened was deliberate, which should remind us that terrorism is always one step ahead of prevention.
It is that reason, and that reason alone, why the truth about Benghazi is important. It is the reason why it is ridiculous to claim that “al-Qaeda is dead” for political purposes. It is precisely why we should not be negotiating with Iran about their nuclear program. It is exactly why the United States should not draw fictional red-lines in the sand in the Middle East as a foreign policy strategy. It demonstrates why an American president should not demean his own country by bowing to Saudi royalty or by apologizing for our role in the international community.
Such events should also point out the need to be increasingly better informed about cultures that challenge our freedoms and liberties rather than catering to their wishes through political correctness.
Death and destruction are far more spectacular and devastating to the human psyche than economic terrorism. Economic factors are generally invisible, but they are real. We can see the tragedy of the Malaysian airliner. We can empathize with the victims and their families about the senseless evil that carried it out.
What we do not see, but which is every bit as significant, is the enormous financial drain that results on a global scale. Just look at the massive search efforts underway by multiple countries as they attempt to find out the cause of the disappearance of the Malaysian aircraft.
Apathy is not the answer. The disappearance of Malaysian flight MH370 is just another chilling reminder of the need for perpetual vigilance.
Bob Taylor has been traveling the world for more than 30 years as a writer and award winning television producer focusing on international events, people and cultures around the globe. Taylor is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com).
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