Airport Observation Park Closed

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Hopefully someone feels much more secure now that airports big and small have closed observation areas and other public places near their runways. The action was taken after terrorists tried to down an Arkia airliner in Kenya using shoulder-fired missiles. Precisely where the terrorists launched the missiles from we don't know. Nor do we know how much that spot resembled the little park in Fort Lauderdale that would "overflow with aviation buffs, photographers and people who enjoy watching airplanes while eating lunch," according to a report in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel ... but much of the park is closed now, anyway. The Ron Gardner Observation Area has paved parking, a picnic area and even loudspeakers carrying tower conversations. According to the newspaper, regular visitors to the park said the airport overreacted to the Kenyan incident but airport officials aren't quite ready to admit that. "We haven't determined when or if we'll reopen it," airport spokesman Jim Reynolds said. In the meantime, there's not much chance that airliners will be equipped with missile defense systems. A report in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer quotes airlines, manufacturers and aviation experts dismissing the idea as too costly and too complex. We wonder how passengers would feel about picking up those costs.