Saturday, December 26, 2009

On Bolting the Stable After the Horses Have Fled

Remember what it was like to board an airplane before the first person in the world, one D. B. Cooper, hijacked one?

I don’t.

D. B. Cooper hijacked a Boeing 727 on November 24, 1971. He had no political motive. He was in it for the money. He demanded $200,000 in ransom, received it, then parachuted from the plane, never to be heard from again.

And in doing so he forever changed air travel.

Because from that day to this passengers had to pass through metal detectors before being allowed to board a commercial aircraft.

One guy did that. That pretty much kept bombs from being carried onto airplanes.

Well until Richard Reid smuggled a bomb on a commercial flight in his shoes on December 22nd 2001.

And from that day to this passengers must remove their shoes and have them x-rayed before being allowed to board a commercial aircraft.

Then in August 2006 British agents uncovered a plot to bring flammable liquids onto airplanes to set them afire while in flight.

And from that day to this passengers are banned from bringing all liquids and gels in carryon luggage, bottled water included, aboard a commercial aircraft.

Then just yesterday a curious thing happened on a plane just as it was about to land in Detroit. The early report was that someone had set off some firecrackers aboard the plane. Now it turns out that the perpetrator, one Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab, a Nigerian who supposedly has ties to al-Qaeda and was recently in Yemen, was trying to set the plane on fire as it landed. He did this by mixing what is described as a powdery substance together with some other substance and tried to set it alight.

Great, I said to myself. What are they going to do to commercial air passengers now?

Well, it only took twenty-four hours, but now I am reading that air travel passengers will be allowed only one carryon bag, will not be allowed to get out of their seats one hour before their plane lands, will not be allowed to access their carryon luggage one hour before the plane lands, and will not be allowed to have anything in their laps one hour before their plane lands.

I say why stop there? Why not just have handcuffs and leg shackles at every air passenger’s seat. Because that is the only sure way to stop air travel terrorism.

And you know, the really depressing thing is that it may yet come to that.


Anonymous said...

I had hoped that this insanity related to security measures would stop under President Obama's leadership.

Another disappointment by President Obama's leadership.

skip said...

Anonymous is a cynic. If you are so insightful, please tell us what you really mean and give your name. Skip Belt

Artemusg said...

Another disappointment, indeed. A decision apparently made without the slightest thought given to its impact on the airlines or their passengers, or its effect on our already tough economy. I, for one, will avoid air travel whenever possible. And isn't Kay Bailey Hutchison on a Senate committee charged with oversight of these things? Shouldn't we be asking her to do her job, even if in the minority, and even if she is busy losing the race for the GOP nomination for governor?

Anonymous said...

I find it amusing to be calld a cynic because I don't give my name on a site where the site's author only uses is first name.

Who's the cynic?