The Deployment Diary

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Is Anyone Paying Attention?

Sometimes, because you have driven through an area or have had friends/family from an area, two completely unrelated news reports several months apart will raise the hair on the back of your neck. Having been through this area of Texas and at one time knowing someone from Lake Jackson - reading the ticker on Fox News the other night had me in a frenzy searching the net for more information. The ticker mentioned a stolen plane cutting through power lines in Lake Jackson, Texas and the pilot was not found at the scene. Said pilot had just "vanished."

Here is the story:
Stolen Plane Flies Through Power Lines in Texas and Crashes, Pilot Vanishes

Maybe a thief on a joy ride - but how many thieves out there could get a Cessna off the ground? We all know that small town America is not known for its criminal masterminds ;). Small town America usually sees drunk Bubba thinking he's ten foot tall and bullet proof - not stealing a Cessna. What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear stolen plane and vanishing pilot? For the majority of Americans, terrorists come to mind. Well, for this American, it is the first thing that comes to mind.

Freeport Texas is right on the coast - an hour west of Galveston and about 20 to 25 minutes south of Lake Jackson if memory serves me correctly. Located right there in the area in between is a huge Dow Chemical Plant. When driving by it at night it looks like a major city it's so huge! Closer to the coast, there's a decent sized industrial area. I imagine, some are chemical plants. However, I was young when visiting the area and admittedly had little interest in what businesses and plants were located where. Dow was just so large - you couldn't miss it.

Now, lets go back in time just a wee bit shall we? Same area. January 24, 2004, a man appearing to be of middle eastern decent was spotted by a guard taking photos of BASF (a chemical plant). The suspect then shot the guard and has not been found. Less than two months later in the same area we have a thief stealing a plane and taking down power lines.
BASF guard shot Freeport, Texas Chemical Plant Complex

Now, I'm just an Army wife sitting in middle of America. I'm not an investigative journalist unfortunately (although I'd love to go to college and dive into that career field). However, if this SAHM (stay-at-home-mom) can see a news report and have the hair stand up on the back of her neck - seems like those in our Homeland Security Department would be having their eyebrows raise just a bit. I'm not saying they aren't paying attention but are our reporters?

I've yet to see any of the cable news channels link these two incidents and ask any questions. We are choked with coverage on Kobe Bryant, Martha, Jackson (breast Jackson and possible child abuser Jackson) and countless other stories that really have no bearing on anything other than the parties involved - and possible terrorist activities in Texas is a non-story? Not even a whimper from our FREE press that is suppose to keep us informed?

With another quick search tonight while looking for links on these two stories, I found this frightening article dated May 21, 2003.
Report: al-Qaeda scouts visited Freeport

Of course, the “major port in Freeport” could include much more than just district property, Davenport said. It could include waterfront sites that are not port-owned, such as facilities owned by ConocoPhillips, Dow Chemical Co. and BASF, he said.

Ammonia tanks could be a much more attractive target than bananas, Davenport said.

Could include sites that are not port-owned? You think? I mean, lets be realistic here - ports from what I read are usually places to smuggle IN things - things that could make a large BOOM if it involved a chemical plant! I really hope those in Homeland Security are smarter than Tobey Davenport appears to be. And I hope our Homeland Security officials are paying more attention than our free press seems to be. I think our press needs a reality check on what is a priority when it comes to reporting. This is a bigger story than the others I've mentioned. It's bigger than whether Dubya volunteered to go to Vietnam. This, if left unchecked, could cost lives! If our press isn't asking questions, how do we know those in positions to investigate these incidents are truly investigating?

Oh well. Like I said, I'm just a SAHM. However, when I saw the ticker the other night - these two seemingly unrelated stories crashed together in my mind and I had to wonder: If I can worry there is a link between the two - why isn't a reporter out there asking some very important questions and reporting about it?

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