On Wednesday, the Mirror posted the clickbaity listicle “Are Travellers Safe? From Istanbul to Glasgow and Brussels – 10 airport attacks that shook the world.” The subhead reads: “After 41 killed in Turkish airport attack it’s clear airport terminals are now the place for terrorists targeting the innocent.”
That attack in Istanbul was atrocious, and it stung especially on the heels of the awful Brussels bombings in March. But the Mirror’s notion that airports have only “now” become targets is just plain wrong.
Since their inception, airports have been “the place” for spectacles of violence. It’s not always terrorism, though. Sometimes it’s a daredevil stunt gone awry, other times it’s a terrible crash or near disaster. Occasionally it has to do with the military occupation of these otherwise civilian spaces. Throughout the twentieth century and up to now, airports have been stages for displays of excessive power, and their corollary dangers.
What makes airports popular targets for violent spectacles?