Bombs Away

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Pretend you work for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). You’re a high muckety-muck at Houston Hobby Airport, and you’ve learned that a flight with 136 passengers and 5 crew will make an emergency landing there. It seems some passengers discovered a note in their seat pocket claiming a bomb was on board.

You’re responsible for getting these 141 souls off the plane before they’re blown to kingdom come. Do you:

  1. prepare to evacuate them ASAP when the plane touches down; or
  2. find your airport’s most isolated runway, order the plane to land there, and then leave everyone aboard for an excruciating hour.

We can all guess which option the TSA brainiacs chose when Southwest Airlines Flight 21 was diverted to Houston Hobby last Friday. Remember that these bureaucrats support the War on Terror and actually believe that bad guys lurk everywhere, waiting to bomb planes. They presumably considered this note a real and credible threat, rather than a bored businessman’s doodling or a kid’s prank. Sue Studley, who phoned her daughter-in-law aboard the flight, told Houston’s Channel 2 News, “I can imagine how frightened [the passengers] were because they told them about it while they were still in the air. I think they should have gotten them away from the plane in case there was a bomb on board.” Clearly, Sue will never work for the TSA.

It gets worse. Not only were innocent people imprisoned for an hour, but when the cabin door was finally opened around 2 pm, they couldn’t stampede to freedom. Rather, cops marched each person off individually. No word on how long that took, but the last captive to deplane certainly had plenty of time to make his peace with God.

“They want[ed] to take account of who was on the plane and try to narrow down exactly who and where this note originated from,” said Al Tribble, speaking on behalf of the FBI’s Houston office. The trouble with Tribble is his job: it’s turned his heart to stone and his mind to mush. “The bottom line is — we have to rule out that terrorism isn’t a cause of this note.” Yo, Al: the bottom line is getting folks off a plane you expect to blow.

These petrified passengers were hardly welcomed into the terminal after their ordeal on the runway. Rather, they were searched and interrogated as though they hadn’t already been traumatized enough. This despite the fact that none of them had committed any crime, nor was a single search warrant produced. Channel 2 reported that “some” detainees were released at 5 pm “after questioning.” The three unlucky passengers who found the note were still being “interviewed,” as the Associated Press euphemistically put it, “late Friday afternoon.” Pity the poor crew: they will “be sequestered and…questioned by the TSA, along with the FBI on the origin of the note,” according to a spokesman for Southwest Airlines.

Like all bullies, Leviathan relies on brawn instead of brains. Thus, it constantly slips. And it slipped big-time here. It forgot to pretend that its first priority is protecting us. Instead, at the suggestion that a bomb might be aboard the plane, it risked 141 people’s lives on the improbable chance it might find a bomber. The state forcibly detained these folks until it had an apparatus in place to search and question each one.

And all the time, Our Rulers knew there were almost certainly no terrorists. Tribble admitted, “It doesn’t appear to be terrorism at first glance.” He told Reuters, “[The note] was crumpled up. Someone at the scene said this thing could have been on the plane for two weeks.”

Why would finding a non-existent bomber be more important than 141 people’s lives — or, given that they were never in any real danger, their comfort and peace of mind? Because Leviathan looks like a fool at this point. The government has yapped about terrorists for four years. It has established a massive and very expensive bureaucracy, the Department of Homeland Security, to apprehend those terrorists: the TSA alone gobbles $5 billion per year in taxes. And how many terrorists have all these dollars and all this anxiety uncovered? None. Leviathan needs a bomber, any bomber. What does it matter, then, if a planeload of terrified hostages and their anguished families quake for an hour? On the exceedingly slim chance it might find something to justify four years of sound and fury, Leviathan eagerly traded their well-being.

The passengers had no options, of course. Even in fear of their lives, they lacked any recourse because TSA screeners had stripped them of everything remotely useful in a situation like this. It’s tough to saw through an airplane cabin’s door with nothing more than fingernails. And when armed cops force unarmed passengers to sit tight, the latter’s only choice is whether to die from a barrage of bullets or a bomb.

Fortunately, the sheeple have their faith to sustain them in situations like this. An unnamed passenger told Channel 2, “I thought we’d be OK because they didn’t get us off fast enough, so I thought then that we were alright.” Touching, isn’t it, this confidence in the state’s omniscience.

And, perhaps someday, fatal.

Becky Akers [send her mail] writes primarily about the American Revolution.

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