A quote to consider: "The United States does not have a security system; it has a system for bothering people." - Shlomo Dror, Israeli security specialist.
Look, I don't care who’s in charge of what's left of our republic. What I'd simply like from that bloated assemblage we call "our government" is for the briefest glimmer of reality to emerge in the realm of airport security.
I'm going to run a few questions past you. I came up with them in a column I wrote just after 9/11. I think that, given the failed Christmas Day massacre recently attempted by the "crotch bomber," they’re still valid.
Anyway, here we go:
In 1979, the U.S. embassy in Iran was taken over by: Norwegians from Ballard upset over a shortage of lutefisk or by Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40.
In 1983, the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut was blown up by: Crazed Texans being told that there’d be no more high school football on Friday nights or by Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40.
In 1988, Pan Am Flight 103 was bombed by: Butch and Sundance who had a few sticks of dynamite left over from the train thing or by Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40.
In 1998, the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were bombed by: Luca Brasi who was upset over not being given a part in “Godfather 2” or by Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40.
On 9/11/01, four airliners were hijacked and destroyed by: Wile E. Coyote who thought that the Road Runner was on one of them or by Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40.
I could continue, but I think you see my point. Still, here’s a question for you.
If you were trying to form an image of the individuals trying to sneak explosive devices aboard airliners, what would be the image that formed in your mind?
However, instead of looking for such individuals, what we’ve managed to do on a fairly regular basis is empty concourses because someone walked the wrong way through a checkpoint, generate widespread complaints of women being groped, threatened to take the Medal of Honor away from a veteran on his way to give a speech at West Point (the star on that medal has those deadly sharp points, you know), and cause pilots with proper identification no end of grief.
Minor aside: If a pilot decides to crash an airliner, will an extensive search for a set of nail clippers help prevent it?
Didn’t think so.
So, I'm going to talk about profiling. It’s likely because I’m dumb. In fact, a number of you have pointed out that if my brain were put on the head of a pin, it’d look like a “BB” on a six lane highway. I like to think this means that I have - in the current vernacular - room to “grow.”
So, again, has any airliner recently been hijacked by some 80-year-old woman who's carrying a tube of hand cream in her purse?
Have any airliners been brought down by Medal of Honor winners?
No? Then, let’s cast a wider net.
Have any embassies, trains, restaurants, or synagogues been blown to bits, or have people at volley ball matches, wedding receptions, funerals, etc. been turned into a gory red mist by toddlers with Barney dolls?
No again but, even though we know this, we refuse to profile because profiling (“description of previous perpetrators”) is insensitive, offensive, and (supposedly) biased to boot. Being sensitive, inoffensive, and unbiased, though, involves ignoring common sense and praying that one of these loons doesn't succeed any time soon.
Bottom line: sow political correctness, reap real-life tragedy.
I’d say that we should call the Israelis and ask for their airline security manuals and we should’ve done it yesterday.
But since we’ll never do this, pardon me, I’ve got to go bang my head against a wall.