At first, I figured it must be a practice run for Opening Day's festivities, but when the jets kept scraping across the sky for several minutes, it just didn't seem to make sense.
Luckily, a friend alerted me to the Facebook page of the 180th Fighter Wing, which announced that it would be performing "exercises" over metro Detroit and the surrounding area.
While it's nice that they beamed this message to us over Facebook, this might be the sort of thing that needs to be broadcast more widely. It's distressing to wake up and hear the sound of fighter jets for 15 minutes and not know what's going on, as fans of certain morning radio shows can attest, due to the people calling in.
Also, the message might be different. Instead of thanking our communities, how about an apology? Like, "We apologize for all the noise," or "Pardon our ear-shattering racket while we careen through your skies this morning." How about moving such exercises a bit later in the day? Hey, we know: Fighter jet pilots get up early. But must it really happen when most people are still digesting that first cup of coffee?
Finally, nesting deep in this non-apology is that 13-years-and-running mention of terrorism. As in, "Thanks in advance for not losing your shit about us waking you the fuck up with jet fighters. Because 9/11." This is the world that endless mentions of 9/11 has created. If — in the course of remaining ready for those who'd use force to create terror — we inadvertently, you know, create some terror with our forces, it's all good, right?
Maybe the people at the news organizations could spend half the energy they do warning us in the depths of a Midwestern winter that it will snow in the morning that there will instead be fighter jets screaming across the sky at 8:15 a.m. That might be a start. As CBS shows, they can already alert the public when the police are going to lock down a busy area to simulate a shooting
Actually, come to think of it, when I was a lad, we didn't have exercises. Police didn't shut down areas of town just to see how well they could do it. Fighter jets didn't gambol across the sky playing early morning war games.
And you know what? We felt a lot safer.