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Final Word: Terrorism has a new meaning for Americans

Friday's shooting at Los Angeles International Airport should serve as a reminder that the definition of terror as we know it has changed a lot since 9/11.

After 2001, our focus as Americans turned against people from the Middle East and all the talk was about racial profiling. Was it right or wrong? Was it effective? And the TSA was born, to further complicate air travel with hour-long lines, ridiculous restrictions on what you can and can't pack in your bags, all in an effort to make air travel safer.

Has it worked? Maybe, but you'd better believe that terrorists who are hellbent on killing Americans will do so, either here or abroad. And they probably won't do it using a major airliner anymore.

What we saw Friday was terrorism too.

We will likely find out that the shooter who went after a Transportation Security Administration agent at LAX was mentally ill and had the TSA on his hit list. But for the thousands of others in the terminal today, this was nothing short of an act of terror.

Can you imagine coming face-to-face with a madman carrying a rifle in a crowded airport with your children next to you?

Can you imagine being the man or woman in charge of air traffic at one of the world's busiest airports, LAX, and having to deal with this shooting?

This shooter caused mayhem, plain and simple.

He killed a TSA agent too, and not only has that agent's family suffered a loss, but the TSA will no doubt try to change something in the way they operate so that something like this doesn't happen again, which means even more fun at the security line.

Terror has a new meaning. It's the knowledge that you never know when or where you might be faced with a situation where your life or maybe the life of one of your children is on the line and someone who can't tell reality from fantasy or right from wrong is holding the gun.

Is there anything more terrifying than that?

About the Author

Years with the company: Just started with Bonneville, but have worked for and with KTAR AM and FM since 1991.

Career: I always knew my career would be touched by news. I started as a news intern in 1991 and eventually reported news and sports, and anchored newscasts at KTAR when it was an AM, news/talk/sports station. I went to work at the Attorney General's Office in 1995, as a spokesperson for the 300 attorneys there, and for Attorney General Grant Woods. I returned as a part-time host and host of Arizona's Morning News Saturday in 2001.

Education: I escaped Catholic school early when the nuns wanted me to skip the second grade. I found my independent voice at a private grade school in Painesville, Ohio, then called Phillips Elementary. The teachers there encouraged us to ask questions and challenge the status quo. They took us on mind-opening trips and never once treated us like children. I am grateful for those years! I left Ohio in 1988 to attend Arizona State University because I knew I wanted to live in the West. I majored in Journalism and interned at KTAR in the newsroom my senior year.

Family: I am the last of nine children and my parents were undoubtedly looking at retiring when I was born. I was raised early on mostly by my five wonderful sisters. I have so many first cousins that I haven't yet met most of them.

Favorite movie: Caddyshack and anything by John Hughes.

#1 sports team: NL Diamondbacks. AL Cleveland Indians. Gotta love a team whose mascot is named Chief Wahoo.

Outside interests: Working out, cooking, traveling and reading a great book.


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