The day Boston came under attack - from the air

Craig Fitzgerald revisits May 9, 1989, when a postal worker at the South Boston postal annex murdered his ex-wife with an AK-47, then commandeered a Cessna at Beverly Airport and headed for Boston, which he buzzed for nearly three hours as he took shots at the Pru, Newbury Street and Kenmore Square.



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    This is an interesting

    This is an interesting question. Let's assume that someone takes off in plane, and those left on the ground know that the pilot has bad intentions. What would the authorities do? Try to force the plane to land, and if so, how? Scramble jets and try to shoot down the plane in a sparsely populated area? You wouldn't want the plane shot down over suburban Boston, and definitely not over downtown Boston. I'm sure that there are drills for this, but I wonder what they consist of.

    Force the plane over water

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    Force the plane over water and then either shoot it down or force it to crash. Jet turbulence and threat of force from fighter planes is mighty effective.

    Pru glass

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    I remember coming to work at the Pru the next work day and seeing a few small fragments of thick, painted glass on the ground near the entrance that was on the Boylston Street side back then. I figured they were from the shots that hit the building. To this day I regret not snagging one.


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    NEVAR FORGET!! The terrorist will win if you forget about him!

    I was just thinking the same

    I was just thinking the same thing. I don't remember anything about this. Of course, this was before the CNN Gulf War 24/7 media slam that's been going on ever since, so I don't think we could avoid hearing about something like this today.

    More of the same

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    In our lifetimes, 11 people were killed by a bombing in a major U.S. airport.

    Quick, what airport?
    What year? What day?
    Who did it?

    The last one is a trick question. It was never determined as to who did it...and yet here we are and there's no annual reading of names, moment of silence, or even fear or concern that whomever did it is still on the loose.

    What a difference between then and the country we've become now.

    Don't forget the time North

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    Don't forget the time North Station on the elevated Green/Orange line was bombed. No one was ever caught for that.

    Not quite the same thing

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    The unsolved bombing at Laguardia in the 1970s that you are referring to isn't exactly the same thing as Al Queda declaring "war" on the United States and the west and promising publicly to continue to carry out "operations" against the US and its allies. I don't think people have become newly obsessed with these kinds of things and, in fact, there have been incidents of domestic terrorism since 2001 that people have pretty much forgotten about because they were carried out by individuals that people figured were crazy or had a specific beef. I'm not saying our response to Al Queda/September 11, 2001 was the best one (and god knows the TSA is expensive security theater that could be better used elsewhere) but I don't think that people are unjustifiably concerned about the kind of terrorism that Al Queda represents. Also, other than CNN reporters and government security contractors, I don't know of anyone who actually sits around and fretts about terrorism. Mostly, its just those who stand to profit from fear that are obsessed with remembering.

    Proof your hypothesis is incorrect

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    Quick. How many times prior to 2001 was the WTC bombed? What year(s)? How many people total died as a result?

    What date(s)?

    When was the last time you held a moment of silence or saw hours of recap coverage about any of the times prior to 2001?

    The previous bombings of the

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    The previous bombings of the world trade center weren't exactly successful. People were afraid of the 9/11 attacks because not only did they actually take out the buildings that time but the death toll was much much higher and today more police officers and emt/fdny have died from exposure to the smoke, asbestos and whatever else was in the wreckage than the total number of deaths on 9/11. More people will continue to die even though it's 13 years later.

    It's not only about numbers, either. It was an open attack on our most populated city and it took a long time for that area to become liveable again. You simply cannot compare the 2001 wtc attacks with any other terrorist act. Even the Oklahoma City bombing (which you seem to have conveniently excluded from your list of inconsequential bombings) didn't have the same effect because it wasnt New York City and it wasn't a lone psycho. It was a group of terrorists with recruits all over the Middle East, Africa and Central Asia as well as financial support from Saudi Arabia who had committed previous attacks and promised to carry out more in the future.

    Were all so proud of you for having such a clever outlook on terrorism and we all wish we came from the same era as you when everyone was calm, level-headed and logical and there was no such thing as unwarranted hysteria. But stop being a dick. Everyone knows that a lot of people overreacted and are overly fearful, and that the American people were led astray and blindly followed the president into an unrelated war and another war that has made the situation worse, not better. And has also essentially ruined our country in my opinion. That's doesn't mean 9/11 wasn't a big deal.

    I know of one

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    1993, truck bomb in the basement, 7-8 people died (one deceased was a pregnant woman, so sometimes the baby is counted in the death count.)

    I remember it clearly, but I'm also cheating because I lived in New York at the time, and all of the broadcast TV antennas except one were up there. Coverage of the event was the only thing on TV. No afterschool cartoons for me that day.

    LaGuardia - 1975

    LaGuardia - 1975

    Not certain of day, but I believe there were 11 killed and roughly 70 injured.

    And that's actually about 4 years prior to my lifetime.

    I remember this incident well

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    I remember this incident well, as I worked right near the Postal Annex at the time, and it's one of the targets this nutjob took potshots at. But you are correct, it was the era before the 24/7 balls-to-the-wall kind of overkill news coverage we have now. Except for snowstorms. Even then the coverage was out of control and they had old faithful Shelby Scott out there pretending every storm was bad, even when it wasn't.

    Glad I'm not the only one

    I have absolutely ZERO recollection of this. I think I was working for the Census Bureau at the Tip O'Neill building at this point too.... Again, as a clueless teen. (19)

    I remember this

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    But didn't remember the details (IE she shootings, etc). I remember seeing video of the plane flying down the Charles River Basin.

    I remember it vividly!

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    My spouse was a P.O. worker then. This was during the era of "going postal". The Postal Annex on the Fort Point Channel was shot up. The perpetrator was dangerous and certifiable. Alas, not the only one.