Anniversary Post: LaGuardia Airport Bombing

LaGuardia AirportOn this day in 1975, a bomb exploded at the TWA baggage claim area at the LaGuardia Airport. It had the equivalent of 25 sticks of dynamite and killed 11 people. It remains an open case. No one knows who did it. No one ever claimed responsibility. Some of the possible perpetrators are the Palestine Liberation Organization, the Jewish Defense League, Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional Puertorriqueña, Croatian nationalists, and even the mafia. Or maybe it was just some crazy person. Regardless, it hurt a lot of people and had the effect of terrorizing the population.

What I continue to find shocking is that most people I talk to seem to think terrorism was something that started with 9/11. Most are even foggy on the USS Cole bombing. The Troubles were something that happened outside the United States and therefore never happened. But the truth is that terrorism is something we’ve lived with forever. The only thing that has changed is that we freak out far more now than we used to. In 1975, a deadly bombing was a terrible thing. But it wasn’t cause to change our very way of life.

Now it’s 2015 and a couple of maniacs going on a killing spree is cause for us go to war. Nothing matters but making us all feel safe. But not by doing anything about guns. That would be silly in that it might actually make people more safe. No. Instead we need to reduce our rights to privacy. And we need to stop “those people” from coming into the country. People go on television and say racist and patently false things like, “Not all Muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslim.”

People die unjustly all the time. The LaGuardia Airport bombing is a good example. People have always been murdered and based upon human nature, they always will be. But we are heading down a very dangerous path. We are looking at creating an authoritarian society that I don’t want to live in. The cure those on the right have to offer is far worse than the disease.

17 thoughts on “Anniversary Post: LaGuardia Airport Bombing

  1. I must confess-I did it! It was four years before I was born but I did it!

    If you want to see the differences in the parties, you need to look no further than the way that the Clinton and Bush Administrations reacted to terrorism that occurred on their watches-Clinton treated it as a civilian issue and Bush treated it as a war issue.

    That is the big difference and despite what some trolls claim, I don’t think that any of the Democrats who voted for Iraq would have decided to go after Saddam.

    • I agree. I always thought of Kerry’s and Clinton’s votes were craven. They felt like Bush had set a trap. Although even at the time I didn’t understand why they felt that way. Wars always become unpopular soon enough. But too many politicians only think in terms of the next news cycle.

      • It was one of those things that “you can either start a constitutional crisis with someone much more popular than you or you can go along with it.”

        • I don’t think that was it. Presidents have been waging undeclared wars from the earliest days of the republic. If you want to see a constitutional crisis, have Scalia or Thomas die of a heart attack while a Democrat is in the White House and see what happens.

            • I think it is going to come down to the Senate Democrats having to completely destroy the filibuster. This is why it is critical that the Democrats retake the Senate. Otherwise, we will have to hear the Republicans making the argument that the Supreme Court doesn’t really need 9 justices. Really, I’m so sick of their BS I can hardly stand to write about it anymore.

  2. “I don’t think that any of the Democrats who voted for Iraq would have decided to go after Saddam.”

    Perhaps. Keep in mind that our first attack on Iraq (“Operation Desert Storm”) took place a decade before 9-11 and was supported and authorised by a Dem-controlled Congress. Of course the W/Cheney gang was looking for a pretext to invade Iraq again before 9-11 ever took place. That the case for that was so flimsy and basically unrelated to 9-11 indicates to me that conservative Dems like Hillary were quite ready to invade somewhere, without much regard for specifics. The very best excuse you can make is that they may have been motivated more by political calculation and cowardice than by active belligerence.

    The thing is, even leaving aside cases where Dems have taken the lead, most of the Republican malfeasance of the last few decades couldn’t have been accomplished without Democratic complicity — including putting asswipes like Scalia and Thomas on the Supreme Court.

      • I also blame Tony Blair. I don’t see how the war would have gone forward if our closest ally hadn’t been willing. As I’ve noted many times, it was clear as day at the time that Bush just wanted to go to war with Iraq and that there was nothing else to it. I get really tired of hearing people claim that the intelligence was bad. Even if the intelligence had been right, there was no reason to go to war. The article looks good. I’ll read it as soon as I’m through comments.

    • I am aware of that however it is still true that they were only going along with something they knew was going to happen anyway. So if you want to call it political cowardice, it would be true.

      It is the same reason we have Scalia actually-the Renquist battle had essentially worn out the senators so they were fine with someone who did not at the time have the same problems that Bork later confronted.

      Thomas was confirmed 52-48 because of sexism-plenty of the Democrats in the Senate were and are sexists.

    • Well, again I think it comes back to cravenness. I remember the Thomas hearings and that was completely true there.

  3. Possibly worth pointing out that “the Troubles” were at least in part funded by U.S. citizens that the U.S. government did very little if anything to stop.

    • Thanks for pointing that out. I remember at the time that as much as Americans noticed it, they tended to be very positive toward the IRA. I think they saw it as a mini-Revolutionary War. I didn’t know much about it until I lived with a couple of British students. Then I saw it for the mess that it was. That’s the way these things always are.

  4. Hey, this post was referenced at Slacktivist! And coupled with this quote from C.S. Lewis:

    The first action to be taken is to pull ourselves together. If we are all going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, let that bomb when it comes find us doing sensible and human things–praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts–not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs. They may break our bodies (a microbe can do that) but they need not dominate our minds.

    • Fred Clark is the man! That does go along well. Lewis was definitely my kind of Christian in that the religion made him a better person.

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