Commercial aviation remains as safe as ever – or to put it another way, it was never really safe from intentional acts of sabotage, hijacking and in-flight violence; clearly not much has changed. The most recent report on airport security reveals that all manner of contraband continues to get through the eight billion dollar security program designed to prevent terrorists from striking our commercial aviation system.
World History is replete with the heinous acts of despotic world leaders spreading from Biblical times to today. The spread of world violence in the past has usually been geographically contained. Western Europe and the United States versus Eastern Europe, Japan against China. The instigators of past calamities usually had identities, they were known by names and nations or the national groupings they led. In the two world wars in which America was a participant, we identified our foes by their nation states such as Germany and Japan or Italy and Austria. Perhaps more importantly we could focus our ire on evil world leaders: Hitler, Mussolini, Tojo and for a while Stalin. When your country is at war, it is useful to know whom to hate. It can be liberating to defile photographs of evil leaders and to prosecute treacherous military leaders when hostilities are bought to an end; and equally important, to honor those who fought and died on the country’s behalf.
Western countries reacted with expected expression of sympathy and despair to the wanton slaughter of mostly young civilians congregated at so called “soft targets” to begin their weekend in a similar fashion to their counterparts in other European cities and America as well. The choice of Paris for the site of this planned mayhem is not a surprise, Paris has recently been a focal point for Muslim extremism; but the ruthlessness of this random celebration of hatred should be a statement not easily forgotten by liberty loving people across the world, and it will not be. Sadly, such events are foreseeable in a world subjected to terrorism.
Born and raised on the streets of New York City, I had always thought of myself as a New Yorker through and through. But then at the age of twenty-nine, I was sent to Oregon for a few days as part of my job working for New York City mayor John V. Lindsay and my attraction to the state quickly became an obsession. Forty-seven years later and back in New York after living in Oregon on and off for more than four decades, when I hear Oregon mentioned on the national news, I stop in my tracks and my focus is entirely on what is being said – as it was today when I heard of the shooting on the campus of Umpqua Community College in the middle sized (by Oregon standards) community of Roseburg, Oregon, with a population of twenty-thousand. Once again I was an Oregonian and my community took precedence over all else going on around me. I am in large measure what New York made me yet there is enough remaining to make me an Oregonian too for Oregon is the place where I intend to return-someday.
Recently, the FBI thwarted a terrorist attack aimed at the Federal Reserve Bank in Manhattan. The planned attack by a 21 year old from Bangladesh who arrived in New York six months ago on a student visa is believed to be the act of a “lone wolf”. Thus far the suspect has not been tied to any known terrorist organization but possible connections are being investigated. The FBI and local law enforcement agencies such as the New York City Police Department have successfully prevented a number of planned terrorist attacks from developing since 9/11 as a result of aggressive intelligence efforts; but it is expected that the threat of a home grown terrorist succeeding in an attack on a high profile target remains grave. Best estimates tell us that between 45 and 50 terrorist attacks have been prevented in the United States since 9/11.
Predators preying upon children for sexual gratification are crimes that have touched all segments of our society. Offenders range from parents and clergy to law enforcement officers and elected officials; men and women; grandparents and siblings have all been accused of having committed sex crimes against children. In many cases the offenders, because of their relationship to the victim had a special duty to protect the child from harm, and even a legal duty to report the very act that they themselves committed. While sex crimes offend the public conscience more than most other forms of child of mistreatment of children, it must not be forgotten the abuse of children by adults and other children is happening all around us and that while in some cases the abuse may be difficult to identify for a host of reasons some of which will be identified herein, and it may inflict pain and suffering that the child will carry into adulthood with often physical and psychological consequences difficult if not impossible to reverse.