Global News Journal

Beyond the World news headlines

Security: Never safer, or close to the civil liberties abyss?


cctvAs an air crash survivor I know how long jitters about safety can last. Eighteen years ago I crashed in an old Dakota in a remote corner of Africa, where such tragedies are sadly still not that rare.

The worst moment was when I was trapped for 20 seconds in the burning fuselage before being rescued by a fellow journalist. My physical injuries cleared up within months and I resumed flying, but mentally it was difficult. It took me about four years to recover my composure on planes.

The point about this story is that there was a good reason for my nervousness – even back then, we knew about post-traumatic stress. But these past few years, anxiety has come back into my travelling life. And while there is certainly a reason for this, I’m not sure it’s a good one.

This time the stress is far less intense and less personal but a lot more insidious. And it’s not just related to travel. You could call it security anxiety, a subliminal uneasiness aroused by the messages I am bombarded with day in day out about an array of alleged security risks. My job is reporting on security and counter-terrorism so my inbox is awash with this material.