This morning I was enjoying a cup of coffee in my Duluth kitchen when my mom came in and mentioned casually that I should “watch out” since I happen to be flying out of MSP airport Friday morning for Ireland. She told me that yesterday there was a bomb threat in the Lindberg terminal (where I depart from) on baggage carousel 12 on a flight inward-bound from it’s original destination, Ireland (where I am flying to). Ironic.
I nearly choked on my coffee. Normally I’m up to date with current events but this break I’ve let everything digital go in hopes of restructuring my onscreen-usage habits and I had no idea about the MSP incident. Perhaps it was just jumpy officials who are ready to call a code red at the first hint of terrorism because the unexpected and undetected Detroit Christmas incident left us shaken up. But, perhaps not.
Apparently what happened was a drug and bomb sniffing canine reacted to something (they won’t tell us what since those chemicals are classified information) on “the last bag”– pink bag that airport luggage officials use to signify that all of the checked baggage has been passed through security and the luggage line for that flight is complete.
The last time I was in a seriously threatening situation with bombs was July 5, 2007 in London, England. Just 48 hours before the London bombings a girlfriend and I were tromping around the city, riding the London Eye Ferris wheel, eating good food, wearing those dorky British flag top hats and sipping our hot chocolates from Starbucks–two carefree 15-year-olds.
Then less than two days later we were at a bowling alley with more friends around and the TV’s flashed to BBC news shooting video and pictures of billowing smoke coming from a crater of what once was a tube stop. BBC filmed the spiny wreckage of the number 30 bus that was blown to fragments. We were all stunned sick and no one could bowl anymore.
My mom never watches TV in the morning, but when she woke up at 7am back in America that day, an instinct told her to get up and turn it on. It was 2 or 3 in the afternoon my time before I got through to her to tell her I was fine. The US government sent a warning to all of us Americans in England at the time issuing new heightened security with the option to contact the embassy and opt out.
Last week at a family Christmas gathering my law enforcement uncles warned me not to fly to Amsterdam saying that an undetonated bomb had just been found on a plane heading toward Holland. Flying is statistically safer than driving a car, and even though I fly all the time, part of me is at an unrest over these bomb “scares”. Whether they are real or not, terrorism is alive and well undoubtedly, and if something were to happen, there is little opportunity for my control over the situation. I’m still going to Ireland and I genuinely don’t think this particular MSP scare is anything to worry about. I’m not nervous to get on the plane, and I mostly approach travel from an optimistic point of view hopeful that nothing will happen. But generally speaking, I suppose the tiny nagging piece of me that is a realist wonders: what if…?
With more bomb threats and the speedy rate at which technology to make these bombs and to detect these bombs is developing, that realist part of me is growing ever larger. I suppose travel is only glamorous in retrospect and concerns like these are just things we learn to live with. In boarding a plane, just like every time you get behind the wheel or step out your door, you take risks. But then again, where’s the adventure in life without a little risk…