Monday, August 28, 2006

Mask of Innocence

This past Friday, and indeed the past few days, were not a good day for aviation security. There were seven different incidents that caused diversions, delays, evacuations, and searches which cost time and tens of thousands of dollars on Friday. Yesterday was terrible with a crash in Kentucky, but that was not security related. Today as I was writing this there was news on the TV that another flight was diverted because threatening letters were found. On a flight from Argentina a stick of dynamite was found in a college student's checked bag. He says he is in the mining industry and often travels with explosives. As a passenger, you should make sure you don't have prohibited items to speed things up. But this raises the question, how did a stick of dynamite make it onto the plane in the first place. We obviously have more work to do in screening checked baggage.

What I want to focus on though is on a flight from Chicago a ten year old boy told a flight attendant he had a bomb strapped to his leg. So, the plane was evacuated and searched. Now, if he was sitting next to me and said "I have a bomb strapped to my leg," I'd be like "can you say that louder." "I HAVE A BOMB STRAPPED TO MY LEG!" Pow, on the floor for the rest of the flight. The parents should have taken him to the back of the plane and discipline him. That boy is lucky he wasn't shot by a federal air marshal. Shoot first, ask questions later. Remember the tragic incident in Florida where a mentally handicapped man said he had a bomb and was shot by an air marshal. As sad as it was, I think they made the right decision there.

I knew no good could come from having kids on planes. At best, they scream, at worse, they cause a security threat which costs time and thousands of dollars. If you're not old enough to be held responsible for your words and actions, you're not old enough to fly. It's just to risky having kids on planes. A kid may look innocent, but he (or she) could be using his innocence to cover a devious terrorist plot. If a air marshal shot a kid who said he had a bomb, he'd be in very hot water. And yet, a terrorist could hide a bomb on a kid, knowing he probably would get less scrutiny than an adult. And there are child soldiers, so there could be child terrorists, who have sadly lost their innocence. In this country 18 is when you are considered an adult, but that is not necessarily the case all over the world. So to be truly safe, we either have to ban kids from planes or be willing to shot them if they say bomb on an airplane. But would we be willing to shot a kid for security? No, which is why we should add them to the list of prohibited items. Or we can choose an increased risk of terrorist attacks if that's what we want. But to paraphrase people after the liquids ban, if it keeps us safe then we should do it. This is also why we should keep on randomly searching everyone, men, women, and children, in addition to psychological profiling. At least one of the suspects arrested in England for plotting to blow up 9 different airplanes was a woman. The terrorists are adapting, so we have to be ready for anyone to try an attack. That's why there has been a paradigm shift in aviation security, everyone is a potential terrorist and should be treated as such. If we leave any holes in security then we are unsafe.

Are willing to do what it takes to keep us safe? Or are you a terrorist sympathizer and unwilling to sacrifice freedom, civility, and dignity for security? Don't you want an unburstable bubble of protection while in the closed airport security. When pick up your bags and drive away in a rental car you could be be killed in a car accident, but at least you'll have the peace of mind of not being able to die while flying, unless there is a plane accident, or if you keel over due to a heart attack. So let's get working on created a true false sense of security.


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