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Teen's suicide demonstrate vulnerability of U.S. airspace

Posted: Thursday, January 17, 2002

The crash of a small plane into a skyscraper in Tampa, Fla., turned out to be the pathetic suicide of a troubled 15-year-old, not another terrorist attack. But the incident once again demonstrated how vulnerable our airspace is. ...

Fortunately, on a Saturday afternoon, the building was largely unoccupied, and no one was inside the office struck by the plane. ...

But what if he had been a terrorist? Apparently, nothing could have prevented a determined suicide bomber from crashing into the building. In a worst-case scenario, the plane might have been filled with explosives, and the building buzzing with people. Or nearby military installations might have been targeted.

Efforts to improve security at the nation's major airports are crucial. But the incident in Tampa reminds us that there are thousands of small airports with almost no means of preventing planes from taking off or of intercepting them in the air.

It's also one more reason that the ''war'' on terrorism won't soon be over.

-- The Herald, Rock Hill, S.C.

Jan. 14



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