OGDEN -- All Utahns go through intense security at the airport because of the terrorist attacks 10 years ago Sunday, but how many know:
- Why one museum's volunteers had to have background checks before they could show visitors the displays?
- Why there are so many Saudi students in Utah and so few Iranians?
- Why the books you check out at the library could still get you in trouble?
Immediate impacts of 9/11 were drastic. The U.S. invaded Afghanistan and Iraq. The Patriot Act increased governmental surveillance powers. Anti-assault barriers sprang up around federal buildings. A new bureaucracy, the Department of Homeland Security, was created.
Long-term impacts have been less dramatic and, in some cases, a lot less than people expected.
Brett Perozzi, associate vice president of student affairs at Weber State University, said he attended a conference recently where education researcher Arthur Levine announced the results of a study on the impact on college students from 9/11.
"They received funding through the Lumina Foundation, primarily based on the massive impact that 9/11 has had on traditionally aged college students," he said.
"Now that they've completed the study, they concluded that 9/11 has had almost no impact on the lives of college-aged students."
Impacts on daily lives are hard to measure and very individual. Soldiers sent to war are obviously impacted, for example, while someone in the auto industry might see nothing direct.
But all residents of the Top of Utah are impacted daily because of the changes in institutions that they contact daily, or that serve them daily.
For librarians, increased surveillance, security monitoring and the danger of legal intrusion are now constant.
Truck drivers have stronger rules and regulations about where they can park overnight, what they can haul and where they can haul it.
Foreign students face an impassible wall of visa restrictions if they are coming from the wrong countries.
Ogden's new police blimp is a direct descendant of the 9/11 security boom.
Police stations and city governmental offices have installed security doors, metal detectors, bullet-proof glass and other security measures.
Volunteers at Ogden's Union Station even had to undergo background checks, although that seems to have eased up.
Union Station Foundation Director Roberta Beverly said the checks were required because there is a federal facility in Union Station, the U.S. Forest Service's information office.
Leah Murray, a political science professor at Weber State University, said the events of 9/11 caused all this.
In the days after the attacks, Americans "became much more open to national security trumping liberties. The argument for having cameras everywhere was an easier sell."
That may be changing. The anger over body-image scanners at airports may be a hint, she said, that privacy concerns are coming to the fore again.
Ogden Police Chief Jon Greiner said 9/11 changed law enforcement in a wide variety of ways.
For one, money was thrown at just about any program remotely related to security. Agencies suddenly were given tremendous ability to gather information.
"From that, we had a big concern because that was just before the Olympics (in 2002) and we had a tremendous concern about 'operability,' or knowing who the bad guys were," Greiner said.
"As a result, we started looking at the kinds of people we weren't paying attention to before: illegals in the country, people showing up who were out and about for no purpose."
That included some who, before 9/11, might have been dismissed as eccentric.
"Because you really don't understand why a guy who is dressed in clothing that would make you and me sweat would show up in the middle of summer," Greiner said.
"So we're starting to pay more attention to people because they're overdressed, and then the problem becomes, how do you honor their culture and respect them as individuals?"
That led police agencies to look for better ways of quickly checking databases, which is what led Greiner to the new crime center he has built in Ogden.
Cities around the country were building crime centers to watch for terrorists, he said, "and then along comes Memphis, Tennessee, and they said, 'Our problem isn't necessarily the outside terrorist coming in, it's the inside terrorist, the gangbanger.'
"So they put together their real-time crime center, and I went and said, 'We could scale this to our community.'
"I guess what's changed dramatically is, we're paying a lot of attention, through the use of technology, to people and those things we already data set or data record every day."
What we read
That increased attention is not always welcome.
Weber County Librarian Lynnda Wangsgard said the Patriot Act gave investigators the power to subpoena records of what books people check out without a traditional court order.
"I know there was a lot of discussion about that, because we consider our patron records to be private."
She is still forbidden by the Patriot Act from saying whether the library has ever had a subpoena for records under the Patriot Act. Ask her, she said, and, "I would have to say 'No comment.' "
Wangsgard doesn't accept the argument that if people aren't up to something, they shouldn't mind having their library or book store records examined.
"It would really have a chilling effect on people if they felt the books they checked out or the information they asked people to help them find would be used to judge their motives rather than their intellectual curiosity," she said.
Harkening to the argument Greiner made that even harmless dress can look suspicious, she said, "I think we have become a lot less trustful as a society, maybe with good reason, maybe not. It (9/11) was such a shock that, a decade later, we haven't forgotten."
How we work
Hank Kay, a truck driver in South Ogden, said post-9/11 regulations made the hard job of a truck driver that much harder.
He transports cars, and after 9/11, he could no longer go onto docks where those cars are delivered without a card issued by Homeland Security that shows he has passed a background check.
"There's places that we pick up, like across the street from a refinery, they won't let you park anywhere near the refinery," he said. "If you can't load until morning, you can't park there, because they don't want any trucks around the storage and the fuel."
Truckers who haul hazardous materials have to have a separate endorsement on their license, which requires a $100 background check and has to be renewed every year.
Morteze Emami, director of International Student Services at Weber State University, said the school has 500 foreign students from 45 countries and they all come under constant security surveillance.
Since 9/11, all foreign students must be registered in a system that can be monitored by Homeland Security, the U.S. State Department, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the school.
Getting a student visa to come here depends on the state of relations between the U.S. and the student's country. For example, the 300 Saudi Arabian students at WSU usually have no trouble getting a visa.
However, Emami said, "Visas for Iranians are almost impossible anymore" because of present tensions between the two countries. This is in sharp contrast to 30 years ago, before the Shah of Iran was overthrown, when WSU had so many Iranian students that local stores carried groceries just for them.
Now, "I admit five or so a year, and very seldom do we see one get a visa. Right now, there are four in the pipeline, but I know one was denied recently and the other three are almost certain to be denied," Emami said.
Once in this country, foreign students run up against newly stringent American document rules. To get a job, they need a special Social Security number that doesn't give them retirement benefits, but does let them work.
"The student has to have a job offer first to get a Social Security number. There's steps involved. It takes maybe a month," Emami said.
Getting a Utah driver's license is equally hard because, due to 9/11, the state now requires multiple forms of ID, including a birth certificate, Social Security number and proof of residency.
Even a bank account is difficult, Emami said.
"They don't have a credit card because they don't have a Social Security number, so it's a hassle all around."