TCS Daily

All Aboard

By Brock Yates - December 5, 2002 12:00 AM

I was delighted to learn that the Dick Tracys who man our airport security checkpoints confiscated 16,000 knives over the Thanksgiving weekend. Of course a vast majority of those weapons were not Bowie knives, machetes, stilettos or switch-blades, but rather pen-knives, nail scissors, Swiss Army Knives and letter openers inadvertently stowed in normal folks luggage.

This implied vigilance by the FAA's gimlet-eyed Fosdicks is yet another example of how misguided and marginally farcical the entire Homeland Security agenda truly is. While airport personal are routing grandmas with walkers and midwestern ministers, who knows what kind of dirty bombs are being loaded into the cargo bays or who is lurking around the runway perimeters with hand-held SA-7 missiles?

I have a friend who is the chief pilot of a Fortune 500 Company. He flies a new Gulfstream IV executive jet and like his commercial pilot associates, is subjected to the same security checks as normal passengers. He has more than once been forced to surrender his nail clippers, pen-knife and toothpick holder before boarding his own aircraft.

He muses that on the cockpit bulkhead of every large jet is a giant, titanium-bladed fire ax that, in the hands of a madman, could literally tear the fuselage in half. That weapon, thanks to the genius bureaucrats who run airline security, is permitted on board. By the way, it was the same bunch, led by the astute Secretary of Transportation, Mr. Norman Minetta, who initially resisted letting the flight deck crews arm themselves, based on the logic that while they could fly a 100-ton, 150 passenger, 500-mph, mega-million-dollar airplane, they were not responsible enough to handle a .40 caliber glock automatic in close combat with a terrorist.

This is but one absurd example of the bizarre distortions being touted as our domestic war on terror. While we showboat at airport security gates, the nation's seaports and borders are literally Pearly Gates for not only terrorists, but for illegal immigrants, tobacco and booze smugglers and legions of drug dealers.

The Canadian limp-wristed customs and immigration policy borders on the outrageous, but is obscured by the more egregious penetrations by scores of illegal Mexicans to the south.

Example: Three months following 9/11, I drove across lower Ontario from Niagara Falls to Detroit. I was in a Volvo test car for Car and Driver magazine with New Jersey license plates. Being a New York resident, I thought this might elicit concern and therefore brought along my passport and others salient documents.

Arriving at the Canadian border, I was waved through with a jovial greeting and a brief observation about the chilly winter weather. Nary a question was posed about the automobile or me. Perhaps a single white male in an upscale, imported sedan did not fit the profile (which, come to think of it in politically-correct Canada, has to be a forbidden policy).

Upon re-entering the United States at Detroit, I was asked some proper questions and required to present my passport, but considering that over two thousand miles of open, unguarded border lay to the west, my confidence level was only mildly elevated.

I have no idea how to secure our perimeters or how to examine every container that arrives by merchant ship or how to roust the tens of thousands of illegal aliens with suspicious middle-Eastern backgrounds. But no doubt radically more intense scrutiny must be brought to bear on the problem, which will prompt fevered wailing from civil liberations about draconian police state tactics.

Being a passive nation, more severe policies will probably be held in abeyance until after the next Al Qaeda savagery, if, God forbid, it ever happens.

But until then, theatrical shakedowns at airline gates and jolly greetings from our neighbors to the North are not only useless, but serve as unwitting diversions for the bad guys to strike at a myriad of unguarded targets.

Welcome aboard.



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