It’s a good piece, and reminds us of the paradigm shift the September 11th attacks forced on our ideas about aircraft hijackings and how they obliterated the “old” approach to dealing with terrorists in flight. Finch calls this “The Delta Force Paradigm”, and describes it as “stay calm, listen to what the hijackers say and wait until the plane gets on the ground so the military or police can come and rescue everyone.”
On September 11th that, of course, didn’t happen, and now we know that there is something worse than the terrorists destroying the plane and killing everyone on board. And we’re adjusting our approaches to countering them accordingly.
But I wanted to take this opportunity to remind everyone — as Finch does — of exactly how long it took American society to analyze this new threat and change our policies to deal with it appropriately.
The change didn’t come from Congress, or from a new Cabinet office. It came through the reactions of civilian passengers on Flight 93, and their loved ones on the ground. And it took one hundred and nine minutes.
This has been commented on before, but it’s worth revisiting, especially in any moments of doubt we may be having about our ability to prevail in this struggle. One hundred and nine minutes after the first plane hit the World Trade Center, our society was able to recognize the new threat, determine how to counter it, and act.
As an occasional Star Trek geek, I find myself compelled to bring up a comparison to the Borg; the race of humanoids who function as a collective mind, completely integrated with their technology. One of their greatest strengths is that no weapon works on them more than a few times — they use their combined abilities to analyze, assess, and adapt to the attack, nearly instantly.
Welcome to the benevolent Borg collective, folks.