December 9, 2004


Another Shoe Drops on the Subject of Airport Security (JOE SHARKEY, 11/30/04, NY Times)

WE have been hearing a lot from women who object to the way they are being handled, literally, at airport checkpoints. The chorus of protests from women about what they strongly regard as inappropriate body pat-downs has been loud, sustained and persuasive.

What about men? Do they have similar complaints?

Among the several hundred responses I've had to recent columns on the ratcheting up of airport pat-downs and other security measures, a handful have been from men complaining that they have been rudely groped. The Transportation Security Administration says that the more invasive procedures are necessary to comply with recommendations by the 9/11 Commission to guard against someone smuggling nonmetallic explosives onto airplanes, and that women are not being singled out. By large numbers, the women I have heard from beg to differ.

But something has obviously gone off the rails recently, and women aren't the only ones noticing it. While women's protests about being groped are certainly much more serious in nature, men are weighing in on other matters. The policies on shoe removal, the inconsistency with which the agency's posted rules are enforced from one airport to another, and the demeanor of screeners themselves are among them.

How about a national petition that the entire population is required to sign acknowledging that we'd rather another terrorist incident than some inconvenience and we exceuse the Feds ahead of time?

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 9, 2004 2:35 PM

Isn't that basically the policy the airlines had in place prior to 9/11?

Posted by: jim hamlen at December 9, 2004 3:21 PM

Er... how about a national petition asking the government to start singling out people who are actually potential terrorists -- i.e., young Arab men -- and stop wasting everybody else's time?

Freedom and security both rank ahead of "equality."

Posted by: Semolina Pilchard at December 9, 2004 4:09 PM


What? And risk even the appearance of racial profiling? Are you nuts!?

Posted by: John Resnick at December 9, 2004 4:28 PM

Frankly, I appreciate it when they search me in airports. The PC idiots have made their jobs 10 times harder than they need be. If you don't want to put up with this minor inconvenience, then buy a bus ticket.

Posted by: Bart at December 9, 2004 4:31 PM

I don't want to put up with this "minor inconvenience," and I don't want to buy a bus ticket. I want the security folks to keep us secure by searching the kind of people who blow up airplanes you know, young Arab men.

Sorry if this sounds too Ann Coulterish for some folks' sensitive sensibilities. But even Ann Coulter is right about some things once in a while.

Posted by: Semolina Pilchard at December 9, 2004 4:35 PM


Given that rational policymaking will not be permitted to get in the way of 'multiculturalism' in Affirmative-Action Amerika, my attitude is the only appropriate one.

Posted by: Bart at December 9, 2004 4:53 PM

How about we all vote whether or not to whack all the ragheads right now. Yeah, pre-emptive genocide sounds about right.

Posted by: Red Neck Conservative at December 9, 2004 5:53 PM

I second what Semolina said.

Then I got down to Red, and think "Yeah, why not just cut to the chase now. We're probably going to have to do it anyway."

Posted by: ray at December 9, 2004 6:02 PM

If we actually had a rule saying, "Single out Arab males, everyone else is okay," then the terrorists would look at the rule and say, "All right, go to a mosque in America or Britain and find some true believers that don't look Middle Eastern, maybe a grandma, or a single mother. Give them the spiel, hand them this explosive, and send them off."

Remember that before 9/11, we had some okay rules about dealing with terrorists and hijackers, and al-Qaeda deliberately took those into account and figured out a way to attack us so that our own rules hamstrung us. It would be just like them to look at the search-Arab-males-only rule and then use it to attack us again, making us look not only racist, but incompetent because of that racism.

Posted by: Just John at December 9, 2004 6:42 PM

Semolina, you do an excellent--and entertaining--job of channeling Ann Coulter, but Just John is right.

In the early '80s, a British woman was pulled off an El Al 747 on its way to Tel Aviv. Turns out, unbeknownst to her, she was carrying 5-ish lbs of C-4 bomb in her luggage.

Left in there by her Palestinian boyfriend, who had gone on ahead to plan for their upcoming wedding.

Posted by: at December 9, 2004 9:34 PM

I'd sign it.

Posted by: Bret at December 9, 2004 10:40 PM