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Monday 21 January 2002

Terrorism, America, and Community

An article in The Times describes an anti-terrorism training class in Miami:

When Trevor Sealy decides to sacrifice his 18-month-old daughter’s life in the hope of saving everyone else on board a hijacked plane, he is greeted with wild applause.

“That’s right, God bless,” says Nelson Ricardo, aiming to soothe the 31-year-old private investigator. It was Ricardo who had egged him into his fateful decision, knowing that the infant was Sealy’s only child, but urging simply: “You have to.”

Sealy knows that with the lives of hundreds of others at stake, he has no option. Painful though it is, he has to make his move on the terrorist holding a knife to his little girl’s throat.


Moments earlier a stewardess who had a knife held to her jugular by a man in a balaclava was sentenced to die by her fellow passengers. “Will you be willing to sacrifice her life?” Ricardo asked. “You would? That’s great.”

I think that this is hopeful, not necessarily on the anti-terrorism front, but in a broader sense.

The United States holds individualism above all else. This has generally served us well, but in the absence of a national ethnic identity, we seem to drift toward an every-man-for-himself attitude.

Posted by tino at 23:28 21.01.02
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