A Touching Story

It is the topic both here and abroad.  What must it take to insure our safety as we board airplanes in the 10s of thousands heading to go see friends and family for the holidays.  We take our shoes off because on December 22, 2001, a petty thief turned al-Qaeda loser named Richard Reid tried to blow up explosive materials in his shoes.  And, today’s “enhanced screenings,” which are the talk of the country, are the result of another loser Islamoterrorist wannabe named, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab.  This guy decided he hated the United States and our way of life so much that on Christmas day 2009, he boarded a plane in Amsterdam en route to Detroit with explosives hidden in his underwear.  During the flight he tried to detonate his skivvies and couldn’t get it done.  He was arrested upon landing. And, now the rest of the story.  Reid should never have been allowed on the flight from Paris bound for Miami.  He had been turned away the day before for his evasiveness in answering direct questions and he raised suspicion for not having checked any baggage for a transatlantic flight.  For some reason, French authorities changed their minds and allowed him to fly the next day.  On the flight, Reid tried to ignite explosives hidden in the hollowed heals of his shoes with a match.  A flight attendant smelled the match and assumed Reid was trying to smoke.  She told him it was illegal — he promised to stop.  Moments later he tried to light the explosives again.  After a physical fight with two flight attendants, passengers got involved and took him down and bound him for the rest of the flight. And the “Christmas day” or “underwear bomber?”  He should NEVER have been on that plane to begin with.  Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab’s father actually made two reports to the CIA.  Yes that CIA — that he feared his son had become radicalized in his religious beliefs and would try to do something against the USA.  Abdulmutallab was subsequently put on a watch list.  It’s a list that’s shared between countries that is supposed to make sure people like these two extremist Muslims do NOT get on planes for fear they’ll try to blow them up.  I guess in this case — it just meant authorities would watch him get on the plane.  After underwear boy got on that plane, someone in authority said, “ut-oh.”  They decided they’d have to question him once he landed in Detroit.  Umm.. that’s just a little too late.  He tried to mix explosive ingredients he had in his underwear in the bathroom, then ignite them at his seat.  He lit his pants on fire and some carpet on the plane when a passenger jumped him and subdued him.  He was taken into custody upon landing in Detroit.  Btw, not only was he on a watch list, he also paid cash for this one-way flight.  I thought doing that meant you got further scrutiny.  I guess not. Would making Richard Reid take his shoes off before boarding the plane have caught the explosives in them?  We’ll never know.  What we do know is because of what he tried to do, we all have to take our shoes off now.  And millions of Americans are just fine with it.  Would doing a full body scan or enhanced screenings have caught the underwear bomber?  No one can tell.  His father warning about him, paying cash for one way and questions about his visa status didn’t. Let me reiterate what did stop these Islamofascist idiots.  Alert flight crews and passengers.  I’ll never forget flying right after 9/11 and the pilot getting on the PA system and saying something to the affect of, “welcome aboard.  I know it’s not easy to make the choice to fly after recent events.  As your captain, I want you to do me a favor.  If anyone stands up and starts acting violently of threateningly, I urge you to attack him jump on him and subdue him.  Thanks for flying with us.”  Interesting, huh?  I felt empowered and, actually, safer.  We have the best weapons against these evil-doers… US — and numbers. 9/11 could never have happened had we not been allowing 4-6 inch blades (leatherman tools and box cutters) on flights.  Nor could it have happened if we’d had the reinforced cockpit doors we have now.  Nor could it have happened had pilot been armed.  Nor could it have happened had passengers believed it could happen.  Most on those planes that day just sat there and waited for the hijackers to get what the demanded.  I would be over soon enough.  No one — I mean NOBODY expected they would fly the planes into buildings and do what they did.  They caught us sleeping once — and will never again. Here we are approaching 10 years after the attacks.  Shoe boy — and underwear guy are in our rear view mirror.  But, the terrorists have won in one major sense.  They believe in overwhelming religious/government power and control.  Whatever their holy book says, goes.  They believe in submission.  We, of course, do not.  So, how have they won?  Look at the pictures and videos — and hear the stories about the Marshall law like — prison guard-like screenings we’re forced to endure now if we simply want to fly somewhere. Covering this story for a few weeks now, I’ve gotten some interesting calls, FB postings, emails and comments face to face.  “If you have nothing to hide, why are you complaining?”  “I’d rather have them touch me there and see me naked then have the plane explode in midair.”  “They don’t really touch you there.”  “You really aren’t seen naked on the screens and it’s in another room.” WRONG! Let’s go over a couple of little things we call Amendments to the United States Constitution.  This document is the foundation of our society and the outline of the restrictions of the government.  We are free and liberated people.  There, of course, are rules we live by and laws passed to make it a better more civil society — but, we are the freest most liberated society on planet Earth.  The Amendments being trampled by the “enhanced screenings” are the 4th and 14th. The 4th Amendment says: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” In essence, the government may not violate your right or mine to our bodies (persons), place where we live (houses), documentation (papers), or effects (all of our other legally obtained stuff).  If they want to take away our security in those things, they have to have a damn good reason (they must have probable cause and a warrant written because of that probable cause).  Many have focused on the word unreasonable. Okay, let’s go there.  The suggestion that it’s reasonable. To see a clear outline of my nude body — or my wife’s or my children’s is in no stretch of the word, reasonable.  If you disagree, you’re being unreasonable. To touch my wife, mother, daughters or me between our legs or around their breasts is, in fact, unreasonable.  If you disagree, you’re being a political lemming, period. Let’s move on to the 14th Amendment.  Another fun one that clearly restricts what’s happening at airports today.  Let’s focus on Section 1: “Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” Let’s hone in on: “nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law” This is pretty clear to me.  You think I’m guilty of something?  Prove it through “due process.”  What’s happening at airports is the government is looking us in the eyes (and in more private places) and telling us “you’re guilty of trying to blow this plane up — now prove to me that you’re not.”  Sorry, innocent until proven guilty is not a neat idea — it’s the legal law of the land.  This is being trampled upon. Another argument I get a lot is, “flying is a privilege, it’s not a right.  The Constitution doesn’t apply.” Says who?  Driving is also not a right.  You ever notice on the TV show Cops when the officer pulls someone over he/she always says why their doing it?  That’s probable cause.  He/she is doing it because they have to.  Did you ever notice once they have the person pulled over, if they don’t see something obvious (i.e. gun on the dashboard, bag of marijuana, a syringe) they always ask, “You got anything illegal in here?  Do you mind if I check?”  They do that because of the 4th Amendment as well.  As agents of the government, police officers can’t inhibit your right to live freely and in a liberated state unless they have good reason (probable cause).  They cannot search your body or stuff unless they get your permission or have a good reason (probable cause).  So, what makes the government think that doesn’t apply to us when we fly? Last point — for those of you who think the overwhelming trampling on our freedoms and liberties at the airport is no big deal, tell me your thoughts on this: Are we safer because the 3 year old daughter of a Houston TV reporter was given “enhanced screening” by a TSA agent who was touching her up and down her legs as the child yelled “Stop touching me!“? (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6ByKOhAhsU) Are we safer because a flight attendant who is also a breast cancer survivor was forced to remove her prosthetic breast in an “enhanced screening?”  (http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/11/20/cancer-survivor-says-forced-remove-prosthetic-breast-pat/) Are we safer because a former teacher who’s a bladder cancer survivor ended up being drenched in his own urine because of an “enhanced screening?”  (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/40291856/ns/travel-news/) If you said yes to any of the above, you’re being unreasonable. But, what do I know? Comments? Pags