At least four terrorist plots - and probably more - have been foiled or come to fruition during the Obama administration, compared to possibly five or more during the Clinton era, leading up to the Trade Center attacks.
In recent days, Osama Bin Laden's family has turned up under strange circumstances and the wires are buzzing with news of the recent Airbus 330 attempted attack.
It would appear a turning point may have been reached - albeit not the kind of turning-point folks might think - and certainly not the kind of turning point the government may want.
While we may seem to be witnessing a slide back into the times of pre-911, where a single terrible successful terrorist act can seriously damage even a city like New York, it is important to realize that there is a major difference.
Think of the idiot shoe-bomber, Richard Reid, and the most recent village idiot, a 23-year-old Nigerian, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab with a shampoo-bottle of high-explosive goodies woven into his underwear and strapped to his crotch. Both were educated in England, although Reid was a street criminal and Abdulmutallab, the son of a wealthy banker, had earned an advanced degree from the University College London in 2005. But these two morons are just a side-show to something far more important.
In both cases, something was different. It may have begun on Flight 93, the only aircraft during the 911 attacks, which was unable to reach the intended target. But I believe the turning point came long before that – and in fact has been with us all along in actions and reactions we just never noticed.
Brief flashes of this “turning point” have been glimmering, unrecognized over the years, and we’ve treated each with the same brief glance this one likely will receive.
But we should give this more than a glance and more than a passing thought, because if this recent attempt on that Airbus proves anything at all, it is something beyond profound.
Prior to 911, heroes were sports personalities and barely-functioning celebrities. With a society mostly asleep, we went blithely into that September day without any hint of how we would all be changed. Following the destruction of the Trade Center we knew what real heroes looked like. They were there, buried amidst the rubble, and they were also there, digging out the remains of friends, for months.
They came out in huge numbers and joined the nation’s military, and have given everything they have – and in some cases, everything they will ever have, to see us safely through another day.
The difference in this latest attempt, I believe, is that the heroes of our generation have finally given us something even greater than their actions. They have lent us their spirits. Death and mayhem is being avoided due to people realizing that those in authority may not have the answers or the ability to do the right thing, every time. Folks are starting to internalize the thought that they need to take action themselves.
Because it wasn’t government troops or policemen or firemen, or air-crew, air-marshals, FBI, CIA, or any other kind of official which brought this most recent would-be terrorist down. Like Flight 93 and like the American Airlines Flight 63 where Richard Reid was stopped, the heroes were just regular people.
And here’s a perfect truth…
They always are.