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Location: United States

Monday, August 15, 2005

From Stupidity to Stupidity in One Fluid Step

I believe I may have been one of the first few thousand people back on airlines after 9/11. I took my first "new era" flight the day after the flight ban was lifted. I have to say that I was amazed at the stupidity of some of the measures that had been thrown together.

For instance, I had to throw away my ninety-nine cent nail-clippers because they had a nail file on them that was all of about an inch and a quarter long. However, I carried along an equally cheap Bic cigarette lighter that, when rigged properly, has an explosive equivalent of a stick of dynomite. Then, as I flew from Florida into Newark, I was given an in-flight meal complete with metal utensil - including a knife that I estimated to be ten times the length and at least equally as sharp as the banned finger-nail clipper. On the flight back, they took my book of matches, but I still got to carry the Bic.

Stupid.

The last time I flew a few months ago, they had finally gotten around to banning cigarette lighters - four years after the idiot shoe bomber incident.

This weekend as I sat with my brother-in-law, drinking a beer and watching the nightly news, I was shocked (shocked, I tell you) that the TSA was going to allow some weapons to be carried on board airplanes now. Honestly, I had to look twice to make sure it was only beer I was drinking.

First of all, the stupidity of allowing box cutters back on flights is perhaps the dumbest thing ever contemplated by government. It is just short of daring someone to use them again to take over an airplane and use it as an instrument of terror. The only way to tempt fate at a greater level would be for Michael Cherkoff to personally meet and greet every fifth passenger and hand them a box cutter. Of course, he could say something like, "Now be careful with this. Don't cut your fingers!"

Look, I grew up in an area where somewhere close to 90% of men probably carry a pocket-knife. It isn't for personal protection or anything like that, it is simply an indespensible tool that cannot be replaced with almost anything else. However, I've long understood that I simply don't need to carry a knife on a plane. After all, I'm not going to be cutting binding twine or whittling or anything like that. I'll even go way out on a creaky limb and say that I don't feel particularly repressed for not having a knife in my pocket when flying from Newark to Texas (or pretty much anywhere else).

However, the stupidity of box cutters and pocket knives pales in comparison next to the ruling that it is now perfectly fine to carry a bow and arrows onboard a flight. I have a pretty active imagination, and I can't even come up with a single scenario where a bow and arrows would be needed on a flight.

I can think of a reason for an ice pick - but they are going to have to get much stronger Solo cups to serve soda in before it's legitimate.

I can't imagine what has gotten in to anyone at any level of government in any agency to approve such measures. I've long suspected that many people in the Bush Administration were put in their positions to keep the government from doing anything. The best way to stop governmental action, short of legislative actions, is put someone in charge who can't imagine a reason to act.

I just didn't think that Homeland Security was one of the areas where the Bush Administration was willing to look past reality to implement their hands-off ideology.

I'm still waiting to hear a Bush supporter spin this as being logical. So far, nothing but silence

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