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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 6/22/10

"Snow Globes: Innocent Souvenir or Potential Terrorist Threat?"

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Recent terrorist attempts by Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab on Christmas Day 2009 during a Northwest Airline flight and by suspect Faisal Shahzad's attempted car bombing in Times Square on May 1 highlight the need for increased vigilance by both law enforcement and by citizens.

Where do you draw the line regarding protecting public security vs. individual freedom?

My flight this weekend from Chicago's O'Hare airport to Newark is but one example of the increasing awareness of potential threats, and underscores why each of us should not allow fear to impede our everyday activities.

In a hurry to return home after a business trip, I packed souvenirs for my children in my carry-on for the flight. To my surprise [I should have known better!], one of the souvenirs became an object of scrutiny by a security guard as he examined the ghostly image on the monitor of the X-ray scanner.

"Excuse me, sir. What is that?"

"A snow globe." I responded, as I remembered the gift, about 3" in diameter with an image of the Chicago skyline embossed at the base.

"I need you to remove it from the bag for confiscation."

Panic began to rise within me, as I imagined how my daughter, a 2nd grader, would react as I told her that the gift which she was eagerly anticipating for her collection had to be thrown in the trash, as a potential threat to national security.

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Jeffrey H. Toney is Dean of the College of Natural, Applied and Health Sciences at Kean University and is a Trusted Author at OpEdNews. He received a B.S. in Chemistry at the University of Virginia and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Chemistry at Northwestern (more...)
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