Let me see if I have this right: A United States Senator whose brother was the President of the United States gets his name on the no-fly list and is hassled at airports for weeks. A kid who has explosives sewn into his underpants, whose father has warned us that his kid is an extremist wacko, has no luggage, pays $2300 cash for a one-way ticket to the US, waltzes onto an airliner and sets his pecker on fire trying to kill as many people as he can.
Pretty much right?
I’m referring here to Edward M. Kennedy and Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. Back in March of 2004, Ted Kennedy was stopped not once, not twice, but FIVE times by the TSA and had to explain who he was to a senior official on-site before he could get onto an airliner. It took his staff two weeks to find out their boss was on the so-called “No-Fly” list, and another THREE WEEKS to get the senator’s name OFF the list.
Three weeks to get off the list. Not one phone call; three weeks.
Joan Rivers was bumped from a Continental flight in Costa Rica Sunday because the screener thought her passport (Joan Rosenberg a/k/a Joan Rivers) looked “suspicious”. Her snappy response to him: “Do terrorists wear Manolo Blaniks? Donna Karan doesn’t make anything that hides a bomb!” Doofus probably didn’t know what a/k/a stands for.
Dick Cheney, who’s been peddling fear to anyone who will listen since he left office (fortunately, the media are finally beginning to ignore him, to the point where he had to post a rant on some website following the Christmas Day bombing attempt, to get attention) wants to even further polarize and politicize the whole security thing.
George Clooney’s character Ryan Bingham, in the movie “Up In The Air”, showing his young colleague the ropes at the airport: “Never get behind old people. Their bodies are littered with hidden metal and they never seem to appreciate how little time they have left. Asians: they pack light, travel efficiently, and they’ve got a thing for slip-on shoes, God love ‘em”.
Unlawful, unconstitutional profiling. But dead-on.
Our constitution says we can’t discriminate against anyone because of their age (there goes Clooney’s first comment), national origin (there goes his second thesis), sexual orientation, disability, etc. etc. etc.
But I say we start profiling, and start right now.
We don’t need to profile anyone based on their age, sex, disability, national origin, or anything of the sort. All we need to do is keep track of where they’ve been, who they’ve been hanging out with, and if they’ve been in communication with people we know are terrorists.
And we don’t need to tell anyone we’re doing it. We just have to do it, and to do it better, we need to spend money on un-sexy things like better intelligence and communication, not sexy stuff like full-body scanners which invade our privacy.
We might even want to have a lot more explosive-sniffing dogs trained.
Or, we might train TSA agents to do what George Clooney’s character did in “Up In The Air”, and just keep it to ourselves. That way, we don’t need a “No-Fly” list. And Joan Rivers and Ted Kennedy can get on airplanes.