The Security Week That Was: Sept. 14, 2007

The big news of this week wasn't industry news so much as it was an event (ISC East 2007), an infamous date (September 11th) and a place (New York).

Having not been able to attend the ISC East show in 2006 (reportedly a pretty strong show), it was refreshing to get up to New York again and engage with the security industry. New York, no matter whether you're from the Apple or whether you've lived your life on the West Coast, is always a special draw for those of us with a security mindset.

Perhaps it is because there are almost 18 million people living in the very expansive metro area. Or maybe it's because that metro area is filled with so many critical infrastructure sites, major commercial facilities, a seemingly infinite number of residences and scores of soft targets. Whatever it is that so closely attaches the field of security with New York, rest assured that you can see every element of security in New York, from trunk and under-vehicle checks at hotel parking garages to PTZ cameras mounted on the sides of historical residences in Manhattan. And if you needed to see all this security equipment in one place in just two days, you'd head to ISC East. That's just what the team did this week, along with our coworkers from Security Dealer, Security Technology & Design and Locksmith Ledger magazines. [On that note, check out our coverage of the show on the SIW blogs and read about the recognition of Stan Martin and George Fletcher at the Tri-Association Awards Dinner.]

As I noted, this week aligned both the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks and ISC East. Coincidentally, I found myself flying to New York for ISC East on the morning of 9/11. On an American Airlines jet (AA Flight 11 was the one which crashed into the North Tower at 8:46 a.m.) scheduled to arrive in New York fairly close to the time that the second plane hit the World Trade Center, I couldn't help but thinking about the impact that the terror attack had on our world and I had to remind myself, like many Americans, that it had really been six years, even though sometimes it felt just like yesterday. While riding the plane up to New York, I took the chance to think a bit about what had changed in the previous six years in terms of personal security and homeland security. Here's what I think has changed in terms of our national acceptance of security after 9/11:

  • We have become willing to put convenience in second place to security (nowhere better illustrated than at our airports).
  • We have become willing to part with some personal privacy and freedoms as we allow government intelligence gathering operations that can help protect us.
  • We have decided to secure our cities, airports and other prime targets with more than just "feet on the ground", by enabling our police forces with technologies like cameras and threat detection systems.
  • We have re-examined how we budget for national protection and emergency response.
  • We decided to attempt a unification of responders, by taking advantage of the ability to link varied agencies under the Department of Homeland Security.
  • At the same time, we have made it clear that "homeland security" isn't just another well-funded department in Washington, but is a mindset in which all citizens can participate.
  • We have had to recognize that our fellow citizens are not only targets when they are in our country, but when they are in other countries.
  • We have begun to recognize that our expansive borders aren't solely locations of illegal immigration, but could become arrival points for terrorist materials and the perpetrators themselves.
  • We have had to move beyond the "It won't happen to me" mindset that can be so pervasive and which can leave our nation under-prepared.

That's what we have done as a nation, and I hope it is enough to keep fellow citizens safe. As we mark this sixth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, I hope you also take the time to consider the lasting impacts of that attack, and I also hope you take the time this week, as many of us did on 9/11 during ISC East 2007, to reflect upon and give honor to those who lost their lives.

Finally, we close with a look at the most read stories of the week: