(U-WIRE) NORMAL, Ill. It is said you always remember where you were when a national tragedy occurs.
Five years to the day, this rings true.
“I was walking into my eight-grade classroom [when I heard of the attacks],” Billy Shanahan, an Illinois State University freshman business administration major, said.
Since that day, much has changed here at ISU, as far as security, though not everything may be visible to students and faculty.
“There is a lot more ways of communication to us, both from the federal government, to the state government, local emergency planning and then conversely from us to all these agencies as well,” Keith Gehrand, an ISU police captain, said.
“It’s not just for a terrorist-type attack. It’s for an all-hazards approach that the federal government has determined,” he added.
Gehrand went on to explain the way the police and the government think about how these situations have changed altogether, due to the attacks on 9/11. In other words, they are now prepared for any disaster, be it natural or otherwise. It is an entirely different frame of mind.
This is not a finished process by any means, however. Gehrand says that in the coming years there will be refinement of what was learned and put into effect.
“As far as the university, it is an all-hazards approach that involves many aspects of the university, not just the police department. We only have one part of the role. It involves everybody,” Gehrand said.
Still, with all the changes being made, Gehrand said he believes we are ahead in being prepared, both in the country and as a state.
While the police and other organizations are working on being better prepared, 9/11 is still very much a hot button for many politicians, both incumbent and potentials.
“It’s a climate of fear in a variety of ways. Basically using particular individuals or groups as fearful things to things to be afraid of, and that ‘I’m going to protect you,'” Robert Bradley, a professor in the department of politics and government, said.
Bradley goes on to explain that there is a flip side to this.
If there is anyone that opposes what he or she says, they are in turn a traitor and un-American.
“It will continue to be used for your generation and almost all the generations. It’s one of those historical benchmark episodes that will always be in their minds.”
“Sort of an equivalent benchmark was pretty much knowing exactly where they were at when John F. Kennedy was assassinated,” Bradley said.
He said that 9/11 would be used as a fear tactic until something bigger and more recent comes along to replace it in the public mind.
He said it has proven to be very useful to get people’s attention and drive voters to the booth.