Weekend snow made us change course

November 25, 2015

Mike Wilcox

Mike Wilcox

Last weekend’s snow storm came as a big surprise to this Alabama transplant. My thin-blooded body was enjoying the balmy weather Michigan was serving up, when boom, bang, out of the blue, snow starts falling. All day Saturday, and then Saturday night, the snow fell, outlasting and out performing all meteorologists’ predictions. When I woke up Sunday morning, Clare and Marion had between 6 and 8 inches and downstate was doused with a whopping 16 inches in some locations.

My wife and I had driven up from Alabama ten days earlier. At that point we were in shirtsleeves and shorts. Michigan seemed no different than Alabama with unseasonably warm weather dominating the region. Of course as Midwestern weather has a tendency to do, it changed quickly.

My wife, who was visiting her daughter and family, placed an urgent call to me Saturday night. She insisted we book a flight home rather than drive through the treacherous snow-filled roads. I immediately got on the computer and booked a flight to Atlanta, which is only an hour from our home.
A short time later I’m browsing Facebook, and this anti-terrorist group of serial hackers, Anonymous, had issued a warning that ISIS was going to attack a site in Atlanta at about the same time our plane was  landing.

Now I’m not one to panic, or get overly concerned about a Facebook warning, but Anonymous has been right about a lot of things, and has gained a somewhat heroic identity, after they hacked and took down over 5000 Twitter accounts belonging to ISIS followers. With their Guy Fawkes masks, they seem very mysterious, but that mystique has gained them substantial popularity.

Even the FBI chimed out at one point and said their information about the Atlanta attack was credible. The FBI later concluded however, that although they believed ISIS was planning another round of attacks, the Atlanta possibility was remote.

Anyways, so I’m now thinking maybe flying is not a good idea. When I got to Metro Airport in Detroit I was even more concerned. First the airport was unusually busy. It didn’t occur to me it was the weekend before Thanksgiving- Duh! Secondly the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) employees at the security checkpoint seemed to be vastly overwhelmed.

Overwhelmed and undermanned I should clarify. With a line sometimes reaching a hundred passengers long, they had only one security scanner open (a second was available for children) and only about six agents working. What the heck, I thought. With the Russian passenger jet that was blown to smithereens still in our thoughts, the lack of security here was appalling.

People were getting testy. Agents scrambled every which way in an attempt to keep up. I will give them credit, the TSA agents working were trying to do their best, yet remain cordial. It just bothered me that certain individuals were allowed through without searching ( here I go profiling) while I was pulled to the side and strip searched. Fortunately they didn’t find a bomb in my shoe, and I was allowed to continue to my gate.

After all with my grey hair and reading glasses, I really look like a terrorist- NOT. I’ve never understood the system. I know we can’t technically profile, but  if our goal is to protect American citizens, I think we need to. What is the point in subjecting a senior citizen to a strip search and allowing a 20-something Middle Eastern Moslem to walk right thru? Sorry, those who worship Islam, but your radical brethren are the terrorists, not Joe and Molly senior citizen.

As we all know the ISIS threat to Atlanta never materialized and I am now back at my Alabama computer. I now remember why I chose to come south. A foot and a half of snow is not something I choose to endure very often.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING to you and your family. May we all be blessed with an enjoyable day of turkey and football.

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