Friday, August 18, 2006

Terrorism's global reach: carry ons get carried off

Just returned from a business trip to San Francisco. We had an early flight out of Oakland. But the line to get in the terminal snaked all the way down the sidewalk. We couldn't get through that line (then check our bags) and make our flight. So we opted to carry on our luggage, toiletries and all, and take our chances at security.

I carry a small bottle of consecrated olive oil in my pocket for religious purposes -- giving priesthood blessings. The TSA screener asked me what it was. I explained. His supervisor said it had to be confiscated because it was liquid. He apologized.

My bag was identified by an x-ray technician as containing liquids or gels. All my toiletries were in a ziplock bag. The TSA screener opened it, and removed my shaving oil, shaving cream, toothpaste, contact lens solutions, deodorant, and aftershave. He apologized when I explained I couldn't check the bag through and catch my flight.

It angers me that 25 Pakastani-born Muslim Brits (by a count of those arrested in a foiled plot) can, by their actions, mean that an American on a domestic flight between Oakland and Reno can't carry liquids or toiletries onto a commercial airliner.

Mark Steyn makes the point:
Excellent investigative work by MI-5 and Scotland Yard foiled this plot, and may foil the next one, and the one after that, and the 10 after that, and the 100 after those. And in the meantime, a thousand incremental inconveniences fall upon the citizen. If you had told an Englishman on Sept. 10, 2001, that within five years all hand luggage would be banned on flights from Britain, he'd have thought you were a kook. If you'd told an Englishwoman that all liquids would be banned except milk for newborn babies that could only be taken on board if the adult accompanying the child drinks from the bottle in front of a security guard, she'd have scoffed and said no one would ever put up with such a ludicrous imposition. But now it's here. What other changes will the Islamists have wrought in another five years?

Absent a determination to throttle the ideology, we're about to witness the unraveling of the world.

Terrorists not only kills innocents, they make everyday life inconvenient in a hundred new ways.


Blogger Garry Wilmore said...

It's one more reason to make me wonder if I will travel abroad again, not because I'm petrified by the thought that terrorists might blow my plane out of the sky -- after all, I did take my wife to Italy less than a year after 9/11 -- but because the restrictions imposed by the terrorists might make it impossible, say, for me to carry my Nikon D50 camera with me. I wouldn't make an overseas trip without it, and I wouldn't dare check it in as baggage for the cargo hold. The restrictions would take a lot of the fun out of a trip abroad, I'm afraid.

I'll read the article, and chances are pretty good that it will resonate with me.

10:12 AM  

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