Russians barely flinch after airport bombing

In no time at all, Domodedovo was back in business. Just imagine the U.S. reaction after a similar attack

Topics: Terrorism, Air Travel, Transportation Security Administration, Ask the Pilot, Business,

Russians barely flinch after airport bombingAmbulance vehicles and emergency workers are seen in front of Domodedovo airport in Moscow, Monday, Jan. 24, 2011. An explosion ripped through the international arrivals hall at Moscow's busiest airport on Monday, killing dozens of people and wounding scores, officials said. The Russian president called it a terror attack. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)(Credit: AP)

A brief postscript from Monday’s airport bombing in Moscow, which I covered here.

If the terrorist’s aim is to provoke an overreaction, give the Russians credit for barely flinching.

Air traffic at Domodedovo airport was interrupted for only 20 minutes. According to eyewitness reports, airline crews and passengers in the adjacent arrival and departure lounges did not even realize that a bombing had taken place!

Think about that. Imagine for a minute that a similar attack had occurred at, say, Chicago’s O’Hare or Los Angeles International, and what the American reaction would have been like. For hours after the blast, flights would have been halted and roadways blocked off. The entire terminal would have been closed for weeks. Tens of thousands of people would be canceling their airline reservations, and media coverage would be in absolute overdrive, fanning the flames for days.

And, of course, TSA and the rest of the Security Machine would be licking their chops in anticipation of all the new rules and restrictions to come.

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Far-fetched? I really don’t think so.

Perhaps the Russians were playing it a bit too casual, but we should draw from their example if and when the time comes.

It’s hard to believe sometimes that we are the same country, the same society, that managed to keep its head together through the various terror attacks of the 1970s and ’80s, from TWA to Pan Am 103. Something in our psyche has changed since then. We’ve lost our sense of perspective, if not our courage entirely.

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Do you have questions for Salon’s aviation expert? Contact Patrick Smith through his website and look for answers in a future column.

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