A s we watch the news from the New York and New Jersey bombings as well as the stabbings in Minnesota, I have just returned from Nairobi, Kenya. Traveling internationally causes you to see many of the changes that have occurred due to terrorism, whether in airports or shopping centers. One problem that I see is that, even though we have become more vigilant to stop these people, there are still many things yet to be done. We have heard many times that while law enforcement must get it right over and over, a terrorist only has to get it “right” once, with “right” being a term with different meanings, in the context of this sentence.
If you have traveled internationally, you know that there is a great deal of security in our nation’s airports. One problem that I noted is that our airport parking lots are still easy to access. In Nairobi, as you are entering the airport complex, it is like passing through a miniature border crossing. Everyone except the driver exits the vehicle and goes through security while the vehicle is searched. Upon entering the airport in Nairobi, we would go through four different security checks before boarding our plane. I will say, based upon my experience in London, that even with security checks, a person with bad motives could potentially get something by. I will explain that statement later.
While in Nairobi, we visited the Westgate Mall, which terrorists attacked a few years back. As you enter the parking area, guards open your vehicle and look in, and a bomb sniffing dog checks your vehicle. Once in the mall, you see it is like any other mall. The part that made this visit different was that we talked about the attack and what people did to protect themselves. Do you even think about what you would do if a gunman or a person with a knife came after you at a mall? Vigilance is not only on the part of our law enforcement, but must also be the mindset of every citizen. Vigilance is not fear, but caution and observation in the midst of a seemingly invisible enemy.
An explanation of my earlier statement, that things could get through, was experienced at London’s Heathrow Airport. Because you have to board a bus between terminals, everyone has to go through security again. As I went through security, my backpack was one of a few that got kicked out for further inspection. When it was my turn, I stepped up and we went through my backpack. I learned, while going that even fluids at or below three ounces, they needed to be placed in a plastic bag. The person inspecting my bag found a three ounce container of sunscreen not in a bag, but he said that he believed that there was a water bottle in my bag. I told him that there was no way. As we emptied my bag, he said that there was something in the very bottom and it was a full water bottle. Someone else earlier in the week had placed the water bottle there and I had completely forgotten about it. If you carry a backpack on a trip, I would advise you to empty it completely and repack it.
I flew on four different planes going and coming from Nairobi, three of which were full to capacity. You never know who is beside, in front of, or behind you. I am thankful for the security measures that are in place and the people who attempt to keep us safe. I do see further measures coming, in law enforcement’s attempts to keep people safe. Freedom comes at a price. There is a cost for those fighting to keep it. We must all have each other’s back. Christ has won the battle, but we still deal with the problem of evil until sin is put away forevermore. If something looks suspicious, report it. Most importantly, always have a plan of what you will do.