Sunday, August 14, 2005

Ice Picks and Arrows

It's being reported that the Transportation Security Agency (TSA) is considering changes in airline passenger screening procedures and restrictions on items that can be carried onto airplanes. A TSA staff memo

...recommends reducing patdowns by giving screeners the discretion not to search those wearing tight-fitting clothes. It also suggests exempting several categories of passengers from screening, including federal judges, members of Congress, Cabinet members, state governors, high-ranking military officers and those with high-level security clearances.

That doesn't sound so bad. I know the usual zanies will whine about profiling, but we should ignore them. Members of Congress, no matter how little we may think of them, aren't nearly as likely to try to kill us as young men of middle eastern appearance carrying backpacks.

I don't know about this next part, though. The recommended changes would also permit razor blades, small knives, scissors, ice picks, and bows and arrows to be carried onto airplanes. Yes, bows and arrows. Have they lost their minds?

Look what a handful of Arab Islamists managed to do on 911 with simple boxcutters. Sure, pilots now have strong, locked doors between themselves and the passenger cabin. I wonder how long the pilots could hold out behind that locked door while passengers and crew were slaughtered just behind them amid joyous cries of "Allahu Akbar?"

TSA needs to re-think this one. As a frequent flyer, I'll feel much more secure if I know that none of my fellow passengers are carrying ice picks. And I don't mind the inconvenience of not being able to carry my bow and arrows onto the plane.


Blogger Amal said...

Bows and arrows? What about the guy who "forgot" a bomb on his luggage? Yup, here is the link for you to see:

How's that for safety and security??

10:25 AM, August 14, 2005  
Blogger Tom Carter said...

That's a weird story, Amal. Makes me wish I had my bow and arrows!

11:31 AM, August 14, 2005  
Anonymous Kevin said...

The white guy in Atlanta which Amal points to, the white guy arrested trying to get into the UN building in NY with a couple guns and a bunch of ammo a couple days ago, the still unsolved mailed Anthrax murders from right after 9/11, Timothey McVeigh a few years before, abortion clinic bombers... all point to the folly of trying to make this all about Muslim Arabs and Africans. Which is to say that terrorist attacks by Muslim ethnic minorites is far from the only serious terrorism threat which we Americans face. Indeed I think that a comparison of incident rates would demonstrate that acts of terrorism inside our country by Muslims is significantly less than acts of terrorism by white, citizen non-Muslims.

That said... Another part of your post brought back a constitutional question I have. Just a few days ago I was looking for something completely unrelated to this topic and ran across one line which seems like it might play into this issue with respect to members of Congress.

, Section 6, the first paragraph... midway thru, actually. It says that members of Congress "shall... be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same;..." The part in bold.

If, as they very frequently do, members of Congress are boarding a flight for the purposes of going to or returning from attendance at their respective House... can they legally be detained? I know that it specifically says "arrested". But, wouldn't a "strict constructionist" reading of that also include being detained?

I'm not making an argument here. I'm more just trying to figure out if this clause applies to this situation by giving an example.

3:34 PM, August 14, 2005  
Anonymous Kevin said...

Damn... must have forgotten to close the tag. Sorry 'bout that.

3:35 PM, August 14, 2005  

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