I need an explanation. Read this story of a flight that returned to the terminal and police came aboard to investigate a passenger, and please try to figure out what the problem was.
Here’s what we know: the passenger was black, he was reading a book with illustrations of Polish and Italian aircraft from post-WWI, and he had a fanny pack. For this, the flight crew engaged in whispered worries, had the plane recalled before take-off, and brought on police to inspect his book. It’s a mystery.
What possible wicked conspiracy could the flight crew have imagined was going on? Were they afraid of being intercepted and shot down by an Italian triplane summoned by an incantation using magical spell components tucked inside that fanny pack?
Check out the suspicious guy’s web page for clues. He worked with George Carlin for a while…obviously seditious.
You don’t believe airline personnel could be quite so stupid? Read this: in the wake of 9/11, a man was prevented from flying for reading an Edward Abbey book. Also, Harry Potter…but then, we all know Potter is a scary example.
Or read Bruce Schneier, the other blogging Minnesotan with a Friday Cephalopod. The cases described above can only be explained as hysteria and fear mongering, especially given the statistics.
John Mueller and his students analyze the 33 cases of attempted [EDITED TO ADD: Islamic extremist] terrorism in the U.S. since 9/11. So few of them are actually real, and so many of them were created or otherwise facilitated by law enforcement.
The death toll of all these is fourteen: thirteen at Ft. Hood and one in Little Rock. I think it’s fair to add to this the 2002 incident at Los Angeles Airport where a lone gunman killed two people at the El Al ticket counter, so that’s sixteen deaths in the U.S. to terrorism in the past ten years.
Given the credible estimate that we’ve spent $1 trillion on anti-terrorism security (this does not include our many foreign wars), that’s $62.5 billion per life saved. Is there any other risk that we are even remotely as crazy about?
Note that everyone who died was shot with a gun. No Islamic extremist has been able to successfully detonate a bomb in the U.S. in the past ten years, not even a Molotov cocktail. (In the U.K. there has only been one successful terrorist bombing in the last ten years; the 2005 London Underground attacks.) And almost all of the 33 incidents (34 if you add LAX) have been lone actors, with no ties to al Qaeda.