Flickr photo by granitepeaker
An article I wrote---"He Tried to Blow Up the Plan with a Condom Bomb & Why Getting Hysterical About Airport Security is Wrong"---was, perhaps, one of the most oddball humorous op-ed pieces I have ever written. But, someone with BBC World Today came across it, was looking to discuss airport hysteria, saw the word "hysterical" in my title, and found that I would make a good fit for a two or three minute interview on the reactions to the botched Christmas Day bombing that have been occurring.
You can hear my interview by clicking here (although after January 11th it will be replaced by the next edition of World Today). I am interviewed at the 49 minute mark.
I was given a great lead-in. A montage of American comedians set me up. Wanda Sykes' line, "If your ass is darker than khaki, you gettin' searched," was followed by a portion of George Carlin's classic comedy on airport security:
"Have your bags been in your possession the whole time? No. Usually the night before I travel, just as the moon is rising, I place my suitcases out on the street corner and leave them there unattended for several hours."
The setup was perfect. The continuous line of stories coming out of airports since Christmas Day has been like an assortment of scenes from a farce or satire. (I cite many of these stories in the op-ed they interviewed me about.)
On air, I made the case that everyone is reacting hysterically. And, as long as there is a focus on streamlining intelligence and adding $1 billion worth of airport screening equipment (which will most likely include full body airport scanners) as the solution, I am comfortable with making an argument against the increase of security in airports as a response to the failed Christmas Day crotch bombing.
Government in America can tighten security all it wants but tightening security does not address the policies or the motives, which lead "terrorists" from other countries to come to the United States and carry out attacks.
I'll maintain that the security only gives us an illusion of safety and that if security exists primarily to keep terrorists from attacking then security won't be the deterrent we want it to be. It won't be the deterrent we want it to be because terrorists will always find some way to get through the security systems we put in place to prevent terrorism.
What can be used to keep Americans "safe" from terrorists can always be used in the future to keep government "safe" from Americans. You never know what devices which can be used to keep certain individuals out may one day be used to keep certain Americans in or to keep certain Americans down.
I write this as news outlets are finally answering many questions about the individual who ducked past security into a sterile area (which kind of sounds like a place full of people who have lost their sexual powers) in Newark Liberty International Airport. A Rutgers University graduate student unknowingly slipped into the "sterile" area to kiss his girlfriend goodbye.
The graduate student is being charged with defiant trespass, a "petty disorderly persons offense." He is also being described as a "romantic" in many of the reports describing what happened in the airport.
With Valentine's Day just four weeks away, don't you think some company should be offering a chance at redemption? What about this for a card?
A picture of a man in an airport kissing his girl appears on the front. A security alarm has gone off. Crowds are stuck and the terminal has come to a stand still. The card opens and inside the words read, "Today, I break a security perimeter to show my love for you. Tomorrow, I defend my love for you in court."
Maybe that's too intensely passionate. Here's something more whimsical---