Cyreenik Says

September 2021 issues

The big surprises of 9-11

On this 20th anniversary of 9-11 lets remember what a deeply surprising event it was. It was the magnitude of the surprises which shaped America's, and the rest of the world's, responses to the event. Here are some surprises I remember.

o There had been airplane hijackings before, but the goal for all the parties involved -- hijacker, passengers and crew -- had been to get the plane landed safely. These were the first suicide hijackings.

o Hijackings involved just one plane at a time. This was the first time many planes where hijacked at the same time, and by the same team.

o These hijackers went to flight school and learned to fly planes. There was serious patience and funding supporting this project.

o These were the first where the goal was to crash into buildings.

o These were the first where the goal was to promote a cause, not collect cash or just be the handiwork of some crazy person.

For all these reasons this event was a deep surprise, and the result of this deep surprise was the craziness of much of the response to it. Much of the response was make-do activities thought up immediately after the event, not things planned in advance with cool-headed rationalness being used. Now, twenty years later, one of the last of these crazy make-do responses of the day is being ended. This is a good thing.



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