Hindsight’s 20/20: Looking back to 9/11

Alan Duff

This week has been full of surprises involving 9/11-related subjects, and by now everyone has already heard it discussed to death. The noise alone on Facebook was enough to make me think that on Sunday night, Americans were all muchkins celebrating the Wicked Witch’s death. Comparing the likes of U.S. forces to that of a falling house is a bit far fetched and I’ve digressed enough as is.

What surprised me in the papers was something with not nearly the same amount of press around it, namely the lawsuit involving Mark Bavis, who was one of the passengers aboard Flight 175. The Bavis family is currently suing for gross negligence against United Airlines, Boeing and the security firm that had provided the airline security, along with a few others, claiming they should have been able to prevent the hijacking.

The Bavis family argues that it is because of negligence on the part of these groups that the hijacking was able to occur aboard United Flight 175. Since 2002 the Bavis family has pressed their case, ignoring settlement offers and declining the money offered by the 9/11 compensation fund created by Congress.

Clearly they are not interested in money, but instead justice. The court case has finally had an end date set after years of work. While what the Bavis family is doing is commendable, it seems they are mistaking who the guilty party is.

Although, it is easy to see the Bavis family’s reasoning that lead to this lawsuit. How did al-Qaeda terrorists hijack the plane? Lenient security, improper airline procedures, ignoring government specialization — these are some of the reasons the Bavis family cites in their case and are valid considering what is now expected of airline security.

It’s easy to do, making an argument around what people shoulda, woulda, coulda done. However, it’s not fair and is frankly disrespectful to assume these organizations could have been prepared for 9/11. The attack wasn’t something random or an accident. It was planned to get around our security, it was planned to strike fear in the hearts of United States citizens.

The entire nation was shocked that day when thousands of Americans lost their lives — which is why the Bavis’ lawsuit seems so puzzling. Looking at the events of 9/11 in retrospect and examining what we learned from it as a nation, it is clear that we have changed. Our security measures are tighter than ever, and every airport and airline in the nation is now constantly vigilant of another threat.

Currently, thousands of federal dollars are being poured into anti-terrorist measures. A lawsuit will not make these security measures tighter than they already are if we are going to still be able to use airlines.

I cannot imagine what it feels like to lose a family member in such a fashion, but I hope the judge in this case recognizes what I do. The judge should keep in mind that the events of 9/11 were so unexpected, so radical that it is unrealistic to claim that the security measures which the Bavis family demand should have been in place.