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January 7 2012

How Can People be Oblivious in Airports in These Times?

obliviousIn a day and age where the tenth anniversary of 9/11 just passed, one has to wonder how anyone could be oblivious to their surroundings in an airport.

While walking through the Dallas airport this morning to catch my connection, I noticed out of the corner of my eye a policeman standing with his arms crossed in an aggressive pose. This would get my attention at any time, but being in an airport just heightened that. As I came closer, I could see there were two more policemen with him and a man in a suit all surrounding what appeared to be a college-aged caucasian male with a largish black & white dog. The male in question seemed perplexed by whatever his situation was (after observing for a bit I finally pieced together it had something to do with getting the dog on the plane), and the police had him surrounded.

Being a curious sort, I found a chair a fair distance away and observed the situation, but what drew my attention quickly more than the actual occurrence was that I seemed to be the only one paying any attention. I sat there for a good 10 minutes watching the scene, and I spent the vast majority of that watching person after person walking by and not even noticing this was going on. Even people who came over to the area where this was happening would swerve to miss one of the policemen as they walked because they were paying no attention.

Something my family always raised me to do was to be aware of my surroundings; I am always very aware of where exits are in buildings, how many people are around me and so on.  Ive even been known to catch a shoplifter or two when I’m just out shopping.  The idea that people could walk through an airport, a known terrorist target, and not pay attention to something of this nature just astounds me.  What if he had been dangerous and stood up and grabbed one of the cops guns?  What if he had somehow smuggled a weapon through security?  There could have been an endless list of dangerous scenarios, and yet no one paid it a bit of attention.  (For the record, I chose a seat that was a good distance away and partially concealed by a pillar, I chose that postion based on ability to get away and shielding)

It is easier than ever to get distracted in this world these days thanks to all of the gadgets we carry, but aren’t there some things we should just be at least a slightly bit aware of?



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