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Laps in Security
The Corner at National Review ^ | 12-26-09 | Mark Steyn

Posted on 12/27/2009 9:47:49 AM PST by smoothsailing

Laps in Security



Mark Steyn

December 26, 2009

Well, the authorities have reacted to the Pantybomber in the usual way:

Passengers getting off both U.S. domestic flights and those arriving from overseas reported being told that they couldn’t get out of their seat for the last hour of their flight. Air Canada also said that during the last hour passengers won’t be allowed access to carry-on baggage or to have any items on their laps.

That's great news, isn't it?

This was a failed terror plot. But with failures like this who needs victories? If that Air Canada rule becomes generally applicable, that last hour will be a big time-waster for some of us. But no doubt some enterprising jihadist will attempt to self-detonate in mid-flight or shortly after take-off, and pretty soon we'll have to sit in isolation for the full seven or eight hours. Another couple of attempted takedowns and they might as well ship us freight.

A couple of years back in NR, in a column I wrote in flight (though not on Air Canada), I related my ill-fated attempt to bring home a souvenir snow globe from Auckland, New Zealand for my daughter:

The Kiwi sales clerk swiped my credit card, wrapped it up, and then said, "Oh, wait. Are you flying to America?" I should have known. She consulted her list of prohibited items and informed me that... the twinkly fluid inside the snow globe had been deemed to count as a liquid. In theory, I could smash the incredibly thick glass, replace the sparkly stuff with something more incendiary, re-glaze it in the airport men's room with help from co-conspirators among the shadowy networks of antipodean jihadist glaziers, and board the plane to explosive effect...

The jihad may never achieve global domination but it has already achieved snow global domination... Next time round, they'll foil some entirely different scheme - explosive suppositories, dirty-nuke hip replacements - and another avalanche of pitiful constraints will fall upon the hapless traveller.

And so it's proved. If only we had a National Snow Globe Association to point out that snow globes don't kill people, people kill people. What will they do after, say, a burka-clad woman boards the flight with breast impants packed with plastic explosives? Playing the game this way lets the terrorists set the rules and forces us to react defensively to every innovation. What difference does it make whether the plot succeeds? After all, long after Richard Reid has died of old age in prison, we'll still be removing our footwear in eternal homage to the thwarted shoebomber.

The arithmetic is very simple: Can we regulate for all faster than they can adapt for some? And remember, whatever new rules they pass about not using the bathroom in the last three hours of the flight, when you're sitting in seat 7B and the guy in 7C starts doing something goofy, the Federal Government won't be up there with you.


TOPICS: Editorial; Government; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: airlinesecurity; flight253; marksteyn; securitybreach; steyn

1 posted on 12/27/2009 9:47:50 AM PST by smoothsailing
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To: smoothsailing

Yeah, security has been in someone’ LAP — it’s obvious becasue they sure as hell haven’t been paying any attention to security LAPSES. Capisce?


2 posted on 12/27/2009 9:50:00 AM PST by gemoftheocean (...geez, this all seems so straight forward and logical to me...)
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To: smoothsailing
Laps in Security
Is that like laps in the pool?
3 posted on 12/27/2009 9:50:33 AM PST by oh8eleven (RVN '67-'68)
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To: gemoftheocean

Lapse?


4 posted on 12/27/2009 9:50:45 AM PST by Born to Conserve
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To: smoothsailing

Yeah, security has been in someone’s LAP — it’s obvious because they sure as hell haven’t been paying any attention to security LAPSES. Capisce?


5 posted on 12/27/2009 9:51:15 AM PST by gemoftheocean (...geez, this all seems so straight forward and logical to me...)
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To: smoothsailing

Yeah, security has been in someone’s LAP — it’s obvious because they sure as hell haven’t been paying any attention to security LAPSES. Capisce?


6 posted on 12/27/2009 9:51:15 AM PST by gemoftheocean (...geez, this all seems so straight forward and logical to me...)
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To: smoothsailing

Yeah, security has been in someone’s LAP — it’s obvious because they sure as hell haven’t been paying any attention to security LAPSES. Capisce?


7 posted on 12/27/2009 9:51:19 AM PST by gemoftheocean (...geez, this all seems so straight forward and logical to me...)
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To: oh8eleven

More like going ‘round and ‘round with the SOS.


8 posted on 12/27/2009 9:51:58 AM PST by going hot (Happiness is a Momma Deuce)
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To: smoothsailing

This is an issue for the coming election:

Let’s put people in office that make travel more difficult for terrorists, not for Americans.


9 posted on 12/27/2009 9:52:30 AM PST by samtheman
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To: smoothsailing
We're regulating objects. We're not profiling people involved in terrorism.

"Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find only things evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." - Manuel II Palelogus

10 posted on 12/27/2009 9:55:27 AM PST by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives In My Heart Forever)
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To: smoothsailing

Weren’t explosives in the butt already tried against the Saudi head of security a month or two ago?


11 posted on 12/27/2009 9:55:27 AM PST by tbw2 (Freeper sci-fi - "Humanity's Edge" - on amazon.com)
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To: Born to Conserve; oh8eleven

A pun.


12 posted on 12/27/2009 9:56:40 AM PST by USFRIENDINVICTORIA
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To: smoothsailing

This security stuff may help bring back the Trans Oceanic passenger ships.


13 posted on 12/27/2009 9:57:36 AM PST by SandRat (Duty, Honor, Country! What else needs said?)
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To: Born to Conserve

Laps.
Like swimming laps in the pool.

Great exercise, but isn’t the same as a race.

Just like security.
Makes us feel better but, apparently, accomplishes nothing.


14 posted on 12/27/2009 10:01:14 AM PST by SJSAMPLE
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To: smoothsailing

“pantybomber” LoL!

Steyn rocks!


15 posted on 12/27/2009 10:04:31 AM PST by mylife (Obama is a fine orator, and Janet Napalitano is cunning linguist)
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To: smoothsailing
Laps in Security

A lapping security dog in a guards lap?

16 posted on 12/27/2009 10:05:13 AM PST by EGPWS (Trust in God, question everyone else)
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To: smoothsailing

TSA - planning tomorrow for yesterday’s terror attack.


17 posted on 12/27/2009 10:06:26 AM PST by lightman (Adjutorium nostrum (+) in nomine Domini)
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To: goldstategop
We're not profiling people involved in terrorism.

We should be scrutinizing Muslims.

Even peace loving Muslims who fly commercially would have to appreciate this!

18 posted on 12/27/2009 10:07:35 AM PST by EGPWS (Trust in God, question everyone else)
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To: EGPWS
Lap Lap danz Lapp Lapp
19 posted on 12/27/2009 10:11:23 AM PST by combat_boots (The Lion of Judah cometh. Hallelujah."Our middle regiment, Gloria Patri, Filio et Spirito Sancto.)
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To: smoothsailing
The arithmetic is very simple: Can we regulate for all faster than they can adapt for some?

This is spot on. They are playing with us. Breast implant bomb? Full breast examinations before boarding (before my fellow FReepers post that they will volunteer for that job, remember Helen Thomas and Rosie O'Donnell fly too). And then there are other orifices that could possibly conceal an explosive...yikes. Types of clothing...electronics...where does it end? The destruction of commercial air travel, which will be a win for islamic terrorists as they see air travel as a sign of modernity and freedom, the same way they wiewed the World Trade Center.

The West is reacting, where El Al, for example, is proactive. They...gasp, shudder...profile! They use not only printed information, but visual information. Ever see the body language lady on O'Reilly's show? I'm not sure how accurate she is, but you can bet El Al has people who are.
20 posted on 12/27/2009 10:18:31 AM PST by LostInBayport (When the riders in the cart outnumber those pulling the cart, the cart stops moving. My back hurts.)
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To: smoothsailing
While they plotted to put us conservatives on watch lists,guys like this MUSLIM asshat got a free ride.We need to hammer the spineless Republicrats into hammering the rats on this!
21 posted on 12/27/2009 10:22:08 AM PST by nomad
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To: gemoftheocean
I refuse to travel by airplane unless it is absolutely unavoidable. The liberals will cause another 9-11 disaster because they refuse to face the fact that most terrorist are moslum. Security will remain weak until they wake up and profile moslums.
22 posted on 12/27/2009 10:22:37 AM PST by peeps36 (Democrats Don't Need No Stinking Input From You Little People)
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To: smoothsailing

I had a snowglobe taken away from me in St. Louis as I was boarding a flight. the TSA girl was very regretful but I could hear the other passengers around me groan as the girl threw it in a trash can. It was a present from my niece.


23 posted on 12/27/2009 10:23:26 AM PST by squarebarb
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Comment #24 Removed by Moderator

To: squarebarb

You can replace it here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HYokLWfqbaU


25 posted on 12/27/2009 11:24:27 AM PST by Senormechanico
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To: Baynative

I think he’s talking about us running around in circles as compared to the terrorists running towards their goal.


26 posted on 12/27/2009 11:40:22 AM PST by Balding_Eagle (If America falls, darkness will cover the face of the earth for a thousand years.)
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To: smoothsailing
A couple of years back in NR, in a column I wrote in flight (though not on Air Canada), I related my ill-fated attempt to bring home a souvenir snow globe from Auckland, New Zealand for my daughter: [...]

I saw one of these confiscated at the security Xray machine Tuesday.

27 posted on 12/27/2009 12:13:35 PM PST by Erasmus (She was a BBC newsreader, marrying above her station.)
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To: smoothsailing

Welcome to the party Mark...

We know the word will get out now...


28 posted on 12/27/2009 12:19:57 PM PST by stevie_d_64 (I'm jus sayin')
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To: smoothsailing

Steyn is, I am assuming, referring to the fact that the prospective bomber had the explosive in his crotch (or on his lap, so to speak). A play on words (laps, lapse) that not many of the responders on this thread seem to understand. So, I guess Steyn missed the mark a little with the pun, since not many readers are getting it, and there are various interpretations floating around.


29 posted on 12/27/2009 12:41:10 PM PST by Rocky (Obama's ego: The "I's" have it.)
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To: Rocky
A play on words (laps, lapse) that not many of the responders on this thread seem to understand.

I agree. I suspect many responders just read the title, since Steyn does the tie-in in the second sentence of the article:

Passengers getting off both U.S. domestic flights and those arriving from overseas reported being told that they couldn’t get out of their seat for the last hour of their flight. Air Canada also said that during the last hour passengers won’t be allowed access to carry-on baggage or to have any items on their laps.

30 posted on 12/27/2009 1:49:10 PM PST by smoothsailing
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To: smoothsailing

Re: re: Laps in security   [by Andy McCarthy]

Apropos Mark's observations (here and here), I couldn't help but be struck by this ambiguous passage in the Washington Post's report this morning:  "The incident marks the latest apparent attempt by terrorists to bring down a U.S. aircraft through the use of an improvised weapon, and set in motion urgent security measures that disrupted global air travel during the frenetic holiday weekend." No doubt the Post means that "the incident" has "set in motion urgent security measures," but it was just as clearly "an attempt by terrorists" — and a successful attempt, at that — to "set in motion urgent security measures." It sounds trite but it's worth repeating:  The object of terrorism is to terrorize, and obviously the mission has been accomplished even if the plane was not brought down.

In Willful Blindness, I recount the debacle of repeated entries into the United States by, among others, the Blind Sheikh (Omar Abdel Rahman) and al Qaeda operative Ali Mohammed — the former permitted free entrance, egress and, finally, a green card (as a special religious worker) even though he was one of the world's most famous jihadists and was on the terror watch lists for having authorized the murder of Anwar Sadat; the latter permitted to immigrate from Egypt and join the U.S. army despite having been caught trying to infiltrate the CIA. Now, nearly 20 years later — after 9/11, the 9/11 Commission, etc. — we have Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab: He was in the terrorist "database" because we were warned by his own influential father of his radical ties and proclivities, and he was evidently notorious among associates in Africa and Europe for his jihadist leanings; yet, he was issued a multiple-entry visa.  And he claims to have been trained in Yemen — the al Qaeda hub to which the administration has just sent a half-dozen trained jihadists previously detained in Gitmo, and where it hopes to send many more. 

I wonder what the media would be saying if George Bush were still president.

Hadn't Abdulmutallab heard that we are closing Gitmo? Hadn't he heard that we're phasing out military-commissions so we can show the world that we give even the worst mass-murderers civilian trials with all the rights of American citizens? Hadn't he heard that President Obama has banned torture (yes, yes, I know, actually Congress banned it 15 years ago — details, details ...)? Hadn't he heard that the president has called for "a new beginning" in America's relationship with the Muslim world? Hadn't he heard that this is our new, smarter strategy to safeguard the nation from man-caused disasters?

I suspect he's heard all those things.

12/27 10:38 AM

Missing the Point   [by Andy McCarthy]

Though I share their outrage, I think outraged readers are missing the point. The people now in charge of our government believe Clinton-era counterterrorism was a successful model. They start from the premise that terrorism is a crime problem to be managed, not a war to be won. Overdone "war on drugs" rhetoric aside, we don't try to "win" against (as in "defeat") law-enforcement challenges. We expect them to happen from time to time and to contain, but never completely prevent, the damage.

Here, no thanks to the government, the plane was not destroyed, and we won't get to the bottom of the larger conspiracy (enabling the likes of Napolitano to say there's no indication of a larger plot — much less one launched by an international jihadist enterprise) because the guy got to lawyer up rather than be treated like a combatant and subjected to lengthy interrogation.  But the terrorist will be convicted at trial (this "case" tees up like a slam-dunk), so the administration will put it in the books as a success ... just like the Clinton folks did after the '93 WTC bombers and the embassy bombers were convicted. In their minds, litigation success equals national security success. 

It is a dangerously absurd viewpoint, but it was clear during the campaign that it was Obama's viewpoint. The American people — only seven years after 9/11 — elected him anyway. As we learn more painfully everyday, elections matter. 

12/27 03:35 PM

31 posted on 12/28/2009 5:57:34 AM PST by Tolik
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To: Tolik

Good post, Tolik!


32 posted on 12/28/2009 8:51:24 AM PST by smoothsailing
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