Prattle & Jaw

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What Was Pre-9/11 America Like?

This popped up in my reddit today and pretty much instantly made me depressed (I'm old). What a different world it was.

Below are just some comments I picked out. Read the whole thread over on reddit.

"At airports, you used to not need a boarding pass at the security checkpoint. Anyone could enter; used to be you could meet your party right at the gate."

"Thursday, September 6th, 2001: The MTV Video Music Awards. One of the most noteworthy performances of the night was Britney Spears doing "I'm a Slave 4 U" with a large snake draped over her shoulders."

"My dad used to take me to the highway by the airport and pull over into the grass, we would just watch planes land and take over with only a fence and a few hundred feet of grass separating us from them. it was pretty chill and we would bring sandwhiches and juice and make an afternoon of it."

"The entire airport scene in the first Home Alone movie is IMPOSSIBLE now."

"Whenever anything bad happens now there is mass media speculation of global terrorism. Plane crash, explosion, shooting, it wasn't the first thought prior to that attack."

"I remember that I was in the shower getting ready for work when my girlfriend told me that a plane hit the World Trade Center. I said "holy fuck, what a bad pilot!" I figured it was a commuter plane and NYC was having a foggy morning or something."

"This is exactly what I was thinking; me and my Spanish class (high school) chuckled in disbelief (and assuming that 'plane' meant a Piper Cub or something). Even when the 2nd one hit, at first it was still more "what the hell is happening with these planes???"

"Some French guy crashed into the Statue of Liberty two weeks earlier with a parasail on 8/24/2001. That was my initial thought when I heard a plane had hit the North Tower. "

"I'll give you one extreme example re: airport security 1999: I was at parents house for Christmas and my girlfriend gave me a big kitchen knife. It was still in the plastic casing and somehow I accidently put it in my carryone when I was flying home. It was probably 8 inches long. They saw it on the xray thing and told me I couldn't take it on the plane. "You're going to take away my Christmas present?" I asked, "it's still in the plastic." The woman thought about it for a few seconds and then said, "Ok, well just don't take it out of your bag." and let me move on to boarding. I was a nicely dressed 25 y/o white kid, so that probably helped, but still, looking back, I can't believe it."

"I took my Dad to the airport to see him off, and I was wearing [an old] trench coat. I walked through security with him and the metal detector went off. I emptied my pockets and there were several AK-47 rounds that I'd left in them. Oh, crap. So I explain to security where they were from, and that was pretty much it. They did confiscate them so I could go to the terminal to see my Dad off (I could have kept them if I hadn't wanted to go up to the terminal), and I had to sign a form that said that I voluntarily gave them my property. Other than that, no big deal."

"You know, I went to Hawaii in December of 2009, and on my way to the metal detector I remembered I had my pocket leatherman on my lanyard. It was a really nice tool, complete with pliers, nail file, tweezers, bottle opener and at least 2 razor sharp knives. Told the agent both going to HI and coming back, and they just waved me through with my terrorist weapon. I'm a white female who weighs about 130 lbs, so that probably helped. But I also can't believe it."

"When I was a kid, airline pilots would let me and my brother go into the cockpit and look at all the controls and stuff and give us little trinkets. Now they have to keep the door closed and locked the whole time."

"A backpack is left at the trolley stop. Someone turns it into lost and found. An hour later the owner comes by and picks it up."

"So 9/11 did exactly what the terrorists wanted it to then. It made us paranoid, afraid, and it sounds like you're saying it made us less confident/adult-like. I don't remember pre-9/11 but it sounds like it was a lot better than now."

"When I was 6 or 7 (so '94 or '95) I flew to visit my grandmother in Florida. One of the stewardesses heard that it was my and my younger brother's first time on the airplane so they took us to see the cockpit and meet the pilots."

"We were much more racist toward Asian Americans, and there was a lot less anti-Muslim bigotry. Also, we didn't like gay people very much (or at all.) When Ellen Degeneres came out, it was a Big Fucking Deal and people thought her career was over."

"Terrorism used to be a category of crime, and not the existential enemy of American culture."

"I may be glorifying things, but "war" actually meant something back then. We've been in a perpetual war since 2001, and no one gives a shit anymore. But the biggest thing, to me, is that I used to be proud of my government."

"I think the big one that I see is the popularization of the village idiot. Once those planes hit, the paranoid and wrong people started gaining the loudest voice. That's when we lost our rights. No matter what the media says or shows, the average person is not terrified of terrorists or even their next-door neighbor. The media used to not focus on this garbage, but once they saw the ratings after 9/11, they went bat-shit crazy and threw up whatever piece of drama they could scrounge up, thus giving the idiots the loudest voice. Then came the politicians you know today..."

"24 hour news channels really got popular after 9/11 too. I think that was already starting to happen after Bush got elected, but personally, I never watched any 24 hour news channels before 9/11."

"Calling someone a terrorist is uncomfortably close to pointing and screaming 'Witch!' these days."

"9/11 was the event fear mongers needed to put more and more conservative policies in to place."

"Well nobody ever called me a "Sandnigger" before 9/11. That was nice."

"There used to be this awesome pool hall in my city run by a really nice Pakistani family. It was clean and well maintained, never empty but always had at least few tables free. Whenever my dad had me on weekends we would go there, dump change in the jukebox and shoot pool for hours. They were always open no matter what holiday it was and they were just so darn nice. A month or so after 9/11, we went to shoot pool and the whole building was boarded up with graffiti all over it saying "sand niggers go home!" They never reopened and most of the family moved back to Pakistan. Real ashamed of my city for that one."

"Summer of 2000: $0.85 gallon gas where I lived."

"Post 9-11 - paranoia, loss of innocence, neo-patriotism, social conservatism."

Copyright © 2014, Lara Mulady. All rights reserved.