Traveling Terrorist Skies

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December 27, 2009 | Comments

Tomorrow with my family I board a flight in San Francisco headed for the East Coast. We are seasoned travelers. We do this all the time, traversing the security checkpoints as a well-oiled machine, yet tomorrow we will face a whole new routine.

We will arrive at the airport three hours early. We understand our carry-ons may be checked twice. We understand we may be patted down, x-rayed, photographed, sniffed by dogs, poked, prodded and interrogated as never before. And we will have to stow everything on the flight an hour before the scheduled landing and sit stone still for that hour with nothing in our hands, nothing on our laps. We will comply obediently, of course, because it’s all part of remaining safe in the sky because yet another terrorist has successfully made an attempt on American lives.

So yes, we will comply. And I suppose this is okay, as long as the young man in the line with a certain type of name who paid cash for his ticket and has no luggage and whose father recently turned him in as a terrorist threat will be subjected to the same rigorous procedures, even though he and his brethren — as well as the President of the United States and the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security — may find such scrutiny of the young man to be humiliating and insulting.

Indeed in the wake of the most recent terrorist attack in U.S. airspace, the President took three days finally to announce in his usual scripted and robotic manner that it is “an isolated incident.” Following his lead, his Secretary of Homeland Security first announced that despite said attack (foiled by couragous passengers who jumped on the guy) “the system worked.” Then, a day later, she backtracked, stuttering and channeling the deer in the headlights as she muttered incoherent statements that made it abundantly clear that she has no idea what to do, what to say, or even who she is. Incompetence, thy name is Janet Napolitano (the same woman who believes the real threat to America comes from NRA members, pro-lifers and returning war veterans).

So do you feel safe? I sure don’t. Yet we are expected to  believe that we will be protected by people who close their eyes and hope that all the scary stuff will just go away. Sorry, we the people see the threat for exactly what it is, and we see this President and his administration for exactly what they are, too. Pray for safe travels, America. And for more lucky breaks and courageous passengers. We’re going to need them.

Betsy Siino | Comments