Saturday, September 17, 2005

More Capital Hijackings?

Taking a plane trip to or from an international capital or similar city soon? Watch out! We are entering a time of increased hijackings. And a common factor is they concern global "capitals."

Are you aware that news services from Aljazeera to China's Xinhua today had a lot to say about a hijacking? Probably not, because it is not on the American media's radar yet.

But on Saturday, September 17, 2005, a man hijacked a plane in "New Zealand’s commercial capital and biggest city," in direct copycat of 9/11, which occurred in America's commerical, financial, and media "capital," New York City. The N.Z. hijacker said he was going to fly it into Auckland's tallest building, the Sky Tower. Instead, he crashed the plane into the sea Saturday night and was rescued and taken to a hospital. Not coincidentally, September 17th is New Zealand's General Election Day. The leaders of the parties were awaiting the election results in Auckland, not in N.Z.'s capital city, Wellington.

While Americans may have only vaguely heard about this news due to the constant Katrina media coverage in the US, around the world this event comes on the heels of other hijacking stories this week. And, of course, the media has been awash in 9/11 hijack docudramas and documentaries, due to the fourth anniversary on Sunday, September 11.

On Monday, September 12, a father in a "too large for the detectors" wheelchair dodged a checkpoint and smuggled grenades onto a plane. The father and son hijackers surrendered five hours after commandeering an Aires airliner around midday Monday after it departed from the southern city of Florencia on a flight headed to Colombia's capital, Bogota. All passengers and crew were eventually freed unharmed before the hijackers, 42-year-old Porfirio Ramirez and his 22-year-old son, Linsen Ramirez, gave up and were arrested.

On the morning of Tuesday, September 13, Adane Bayu Arage, an Israeli youth attempted to get a disassembled gun and 22 bullets, hidden inside a tool, onto a plane. He allegedly planned to hijack a passenger plane, Ethiopian Airlines Flight Number 424, in the capital of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The youth was born in Ethiopia and later immigrated to Israel. The Israeli Foreign Ministry questioned whether the suspect is Israeli.

Plane hijackings come in waves because they are one of the most likely events to be impacted by the copycat effect. In the 1970s, social scientists began talking about a "skyjack virus" transmitted through the media. Then in 1973, Dr. David Phillips published his first study on the importance of imitation in explaining hijackings. The rest is history, and some of it quite recent, of course.

If such events have become a frequent current topic of the international media, including such outlets as Aljazeera, don't be surprised to watch an upturn in hijackings.

1 comment:

Roy said...

The capital of New Zealand is Wellington, not Auckland.