Panic society September 2, 2016Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
It didn’t take nearly that much firepower to set off chaos at New York City’s biggest airport earlier this month. Apparently a few people applauding for Usain Bolt in Terminal 8 did the trick. The claps seem to have been mistaken for gunfire, which set people running and knocking over barriers, which also sounded like gunfire. The reports spread between terminals, and within an hour, the whole airport was shut down.
As the author of the piece, Henry Graber notes, in Slate, ‘calm, like panic, is contagious’ but in an environment where threat assessments are ramped up on a continual basis small wonder that there’s an heightened, many would say an exaggerated, if not indeed a completely exaggerated, sense of risk.
And that had me thinking that in some ways – given that accentuation of a sense of risk, small wonder that a candidate like Trump who essentially offers the US the option of pulling the blanket over its head and concealing itself behind physical walls, and mass expulsions of the other, is doing not too bad. Perhaps the real wonder is that Trump isn’t doing better.
But then again. Am I wrong in thinking that there’s been no direct attack on a US airport. None whatsoever (and 9/11 doesn’t strike me as such).
Yet as Graber relates:
Exactly two weeks later, the same thing happened at Los Angeles International Airport. Around 9 p.m. on Sunday, police received reports about an active shooter in Terminal 8. (What is it with Terminal 8s?) “Word spread quickly through the terminals by word-of-mouth, social media, and additional calls were made to Airport Police about an active shooter in other terminals, with some reporting having heard gunshots,” Los Angeles World Airports announced in a press release. Five terminals were evacuated and 27 flights diverted to other airports. In the end, there was no shooter.
What do these false alarms tells us? What is the state of mind of a nation where they occur? Is it connected to gun violence, or the threat of Islamist violence, or…