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Keep the guard up

Variety Editorial

Reinvigorated Al Qaeda cells seem to be varying their targets beyond the financial and political centers of American power — so much so that Hollywood cannot afford to let its guard down.

The 9/11 attacks proved that the United States can be severely disrupted by a “spectacular” act of terrorism — and the resulting economic damage put a serious crimp in the media and entertainment industry — one from which there has not yet been a full recovery.

Moreover, there is no “spectacle” in the world quite like Hollywood.

The Bali disco blast in October proved that terrorists will not hesitate to choose a leisure-time paradise for an attack against innocent civilians. Moscow proved that terrorists with access to weapons (and, yes, thanks to the NRA there are plenty of those around) can seal off a theater (or, perhaps a megaplex or an entertainment awards event) and set off a crisis with mass casualties.

More worrying, the Beltway sniper proved that a determined individual with a single rifle can set off a public panic, disrupt law enforcement and distract the media for weeks.

Recently the CIA director — one of the few bureaucrats in Washington who might be deemed competent — said that the United States faces the same level of terrorism risk today as prior to 9/11.

In fact, not much of any substance has been done to make the country safer against a determined adversary, although great efforts have been made to pretend that the politicians and bureaucrats have taken steps.

However nonchalant about the problem the elite who only travel in private jets are, Hollywood needs to keep focussed on protecting its workplaces and its tourist meccas. Inconvenience is a small price to pay.

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