Saturday, October 27, 2007

Airline Security & Political Correctness

I am getting ready to travel by air again for business (an experience that I compare to having hemorrhoid surgery without an anesthetic). This time it looks like my trip will be to a foreign land, which adds a flavor to the experience that can only properly be achieved by the sprinkling on of a little natural fertilizer. 

As I contemplate that future (and suicide by paper cut), I have to tell you that I have completely had it with the airport security procedures that lie ahead of me. Waiting in line, stripping down my luggage, taking off my shoes, and having my laptop swabbed down for explosive residue make me want to chew my own leg off. 

Well, like the character Howard Beale in the movie Network, I want to yell: "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not gonna take this any more!" Instead, I want to make a radical and politically incorrect suggestion here to correct the situation; but before I do I would like to play a little game with you. I would like to have you look at this as a "Final Jeopardy" question. The following events have what in common?
  • The attempted attack on American Flt 63 by a man with bombs in his shoes.
  • The hijacking of United Flt 175 and American Flt 11 for the attack on the World Trade Center on 9/11.
  • The hijacking of American Flt 77 for the attack on the Pentagon on 9/11.
  • The hijacking of United Flt 93, which eventually crashed into a field in Somerset County, PA on 9/11.
  • The bombing of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.
  • The setting off of a car bomb (OK, it was a truck) outside an Air Force housing complex in Saudi Arabia.
  • The 1st bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993.
  • The bombing of Pan Am Flight 103.
  • The bombing of a discotheque in West Berlin that was frequented by US servicemen.
  • The hijacking of the cruise ship, Achille Lauro.
  • The bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut .
  • The bombing of the US embassy in Beirut.
  • The attack on the US embassy in Iran and the kidnapping of the embassy staff.
Can you hear the "Final Jeopardy" music playing? Is your brow furrowed as you ponder the difficult nature of the question? Are your palms sweating because you are unsure of the answer? No! The truth of the matter is that you had the answer long before you finished reading the question (and don't worry, I won't make you phrase it in the form of a question).

All of these were acts of terrorism committed by Muslim extremists.

In fact, 100% of the terrorist attacks on commercial airlines based in America for the last 20 years have been committed by Muslim Extremists.

(Now here is where the part comes in that illustrates what a cold-hearted, mean-spirited, and politically incorrect person I really am.) 

Why aren't we focusing on the only group of people who have been attacking us? Why do we harass old people in wheelchairs and walkers, pat down salesmen, and make small children cry as we force them to walk through metal detectors without their parents? Why is our politically correct society's answer to the question of how to insure our safety to treat us all as if we were suspected terrorists.

I know, I know, this is racial profiling and this is a practice that is simply wrong. Or is it? Would you watch your children more closely if they were playing in a park next to a church picnic or a homeless man in a dirty overcoat? Would you feel more comfortable walking down the hallway of an upscale hotel or the hallway of a cell block in a jail? 

We all make informed judgements based on visual cues and experience everyday to insure our own safety and that of those we care about. We do this almost without thinking. Why can't we ask our government (who is used to functioning without thinking) do the same thing? Have we become so politically correct that we will inconvenience everyone for fear of offending some?

Listen, you can say what you want about the fairness of the concept of racial profiling; but in this case I'm not sure that you could argue with its potential effectiveness. Doing so may actually be no more than what Captain Renault sought to do in the movie Casablanca, "rounding up the usual suspects".

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