Just a few days before Christmas and during the busiest travel week of the year, a terminal in New Jersey’s Liberty International Airport in Newark was shut down this morning after radiation emitted by a computer monitor sparked fears of a bomb.
The FBI, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and a bomb squad all investigated the device, which was being shipped in checked baggage on the same flight as its owner. The amount of radiation emitted by the monitor was found to be normal and was ultimately declared to pose no imminent harm, so the closed terminal promptly reopened.
The scare was triggered when the computer monitor was discovered behind a counter, and Transportation Security Administration Bomb Appraisal Officers were alerted by employees just after 7:00 a.m. this morning. Vehicular traffic in and out of the airport was halted while the bomb squad hurried to the scene.
The news comes at the same time that British authorities announced 12 men have been arrested in the United Kingdom in a widespread counter-terrorism operation.
While all is well in Newark at this hour, news like this can be upsetting for anyone traveling, and particularly for those taking a trip with their kids. The raised threat level and added security measures in airports over the past nine years seem hypothetical and almost routine until the news of an actual scare or thwarted attack comes to light, like this morning.
When I was a kid, I had a friend whose family used to divide up and fly on two separate planes when they were taking a vacation — one kid per parent per plane — in case there was a hijacking or a crash. I used to think that was crazy or paranoid or both, until Sept. 11, 2001, and even though my family always flies all together, I can see why others might make that choice.
I’m not a nervous flyer, and particularly once I’m on a plane I realize everything is out of my hands, but ever since my daughter was born, turbulence and news of terrorist threats resonates with me more than ever. I cling to her a little tighter and search for the meaning of life and God a little more earnestly when we’re flying through the clouds. Somehow I think I’m not alone in that.
Are you traveling with your family this week? How much, if at all, do you think and/or worry about terrorism in the air?