Sunday, February 25, 2007

Airport Security

25 February 2007

I have a personal problem with the new security procedures at American Airports.

In response to the emerging threat of Islamic extremism, revised airport security measures have been adopted which include detailed inspection of randomly selected passengers.

Because our social affairs are governed by political correctness, we cannot systematically inspect those who are at highest risk of engaging in terrorist activities. The process must be random to demonstrate that our society is a fair one.

As my wife is white, blond and female, she has been stopped routinely for these more thorough searches. Perhaps it is a random occurrence that she has been targeted for this particular procedure, but I think not.

What is going on? In our effort to be “fair,” we must inspect individuals who bear no resemblance at all to the young Islamic males who are most likely to be engaged in terrorist activity.

If the matter were not so serious, our systemic response would seem laughable, and perhaps I would be best off to accept it in this way.

I confess that I can barely contain my rage when my wife is targeted for such inspections while much more likely suspects walk on by, and I recognize this as a fault on my part. It is a certainty that I am over-reacting on this particular issue – I recognize that my emotional responses are out of proportion to the actual circumstances.

It is in fact very easy to step on others’ toes, and it is equally easy to misinterpret such transgressions as acts of racial or ethnic prejudice (that is, as “racial profiling”).

If we were to inspect only young Islamic males at our airports, this would reflect a bias on our part which terrorists would certainly be determined to thwart and also to exploit by recruiting unlikely suspects to carry out their missions.

Fair enough.

In fact, there are converts from all racial and ethnic groups to Islam, and most of us will recall that John Walker Lindh, an American from California, fought alongside the Taliban – and against the United States and Canada – in the original Afghan Conflict. The singer Cat Stevens (Yusuf Islam) is now a prominent British Muslim. Several of the recently arrested southern Ontario suspects were Hindus who converted to Islam.

So it is not an impossible stretch of the imagination that my wife could be an Islamic extremist, sympathizer or other variety of evildoer. When one thinks of it logically, if we are to do airport searches, such truly random procedures actually do make strategic sense, initially incomprehensible though they may seem.

I have some confidence and encouragement due to our recent success in capturing the large-scale southern Ontario terrorist ring in 2006. If our surveillance systems are in fact as effective as they now appear, I would hope that in most cases terrorist suspects will be apprehended well before their arrival at a Canadian airport to carry out a terrorist mission.

I cannot fight and win every battle, and this is one I will concede.

Let the airport security inspectors search me or my blonde, fair-skinned wife, or any of us at all for that matter – on the off chance that persons who might not initially appear to be so could in fact be Islamic terrorists or sympathizers with their cause.

The more we “profile” passengers in conducting such searches, the more likely it is that our enemies will recruit sympathizers who do not match our profiles in any case.

Let us just hope and pray, however, that our covert surveillance activities are less politically correct than our practices at the airport. If I were to learn that our covert surveillance teams were giving equal opportunity to white blonde female terrorist suspects, it is at this point that I would become genuinely fearful.


  1. It's nice to put some things to rest. Glad you have accepted the random search policy.

  2. If we did not do it, terrorists would simply become "more random."

  3. I think they just want to "feel her up". Luckily, they have a good excuse to check out her boobs ... oops, I was supposed to say breasts wasn't I Susan?!?!? LOL