Sunday, December 21, 2008

Pam Am Flight 103 and today

Today marked the 20th anniversary of Pam Am Flight 103 that crashed at Lockerbie, Scotland killing everyone on board plus 11 people on the ground. It was still uncommon for hijackers at the time to kill hostages. The bombing of Pam Am Flight 103 started to change they way intelligence analysts and law enforcement personnel began to look at terrorist groups. It was so unexpected that most agencies did not realize what had happened. Former Libyan intelligence officer Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi was found guilty of mass murder following a trial at Camp Zeist in the Netherlands in 2001.

The events over Lockerbie make it seem even more incredible that American Airlines Flight 11 (which crashed into the North Tower), United Airlines Flight 175 (which crashed into the South Tower) and American Airlines Flight 77 (which crashed into the Pentagon) could all simultaneously be seized and used as weapons. From most accounts, United Airlines Flight 93 crashed into the Pennsylvania countryside as a result of the passengers fighting back.

Times are becoming very interesting. The attacks in Mumbai serve as a reminder that not all attacks have to come in the form of airliners. The Bush Administration is in its last 30 days in office and the Obama Administration takes over in the midst of one of the worst economies ever. The Big Three automakers were bailed out because they are too big to fail. In a global economy, the effects of the Big Three aren’t limited to the USA but to companies throughout the world. How many other groups will launch attacks in retaliation for the perceived economic impact to their countries caused by the failing American auto industry?

Ohio Governor Ted Stickland just announced a $640 million dollar cut to this year’s budget. Layoffs, furloughs and hiring freezes to public safety agencies will mean a reduced response capability in addition to the individual economic hardships facing those effected by the proposed cuts. More and more people are losing their jobs and their homes creating a desperate situation for some potentially leading to increased crime and violence.

The increased stress of losing one’s job will lead to increased health problems. The sale of nutritional supplements has increased as people try to cope with the increased stress of life under such circumstances. As people lose health care insurance, more uninsured emergency patients will be seen at hospitals. More EMS runs will occur responding to medical emergencies brought on by people running out of their prescription medication. Increased EMS runs will further depleted dwindling municipal budgets and with increased unemployment, local governments will not be able to generate the necessary tax revenue.

As though this isn’t enough, I just saw a trailer for a movie entitled “2012”. The Mayan calendar ends in 2012 and some believe this indicates an end of times. The economy may be seen as further proof of these beliefs and could create a wide scale panic even more pronounced than that experienced during the Y2K scare.

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