Sunday, September 11, 2011

Overcoming the Irrational: Flying in the Post 9/11 World

Today, at 11:06am local time, I will board flight UA906 from San Francisco to Chicago. The planes hijacked on September 11, 2001, were also transcontinental flights, chosen by terrorists because they were loaded with jet fuel. I’m not generally a superstitious being, but as I get ready to board this flight I am a little anxious. Traumatic events tend to augment our irrational tendencies, on both a personal and societal level. After 9/11, many people were afraid to fly, although statisticians tried to convince us that we were safer than ever. Airport security was upped to inane levels, although would-be terrorists had likely developed more sophisticated techniques than hiding metal in their flip flops. Crises often catalyze change, and in many ways 9/11 has changed our world for the good, making us more compassionate, considerate, and careful. Still, it was too high a price to pay for the compassion, consideration, and care we should have been showing each other anyway. 9/11 has worked its way into our literature, film, television, and collective conscious. Throughout today, as we reflect on the impact of the events of a decade ago, let’s turn our temptation for paranoia into a catalyst for change. That’s what I’ll be reflecting on during my 4-hour flight this morning.

Mari-Beth Slade is a marketer for an accounting firm in Halifax. She enjoys hearing new ideas and challenging assumptions. When not hard at work, she appreciates sharing food, wine and conversations with her family and friends.

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