It's That Pesky Skin Color Thing Again.
December 27, 2001 10:47 AM   Subscribe

It's That Pesky Skin Color Thing Again. An Arab-American member of President Bush's security detail was denied passage on an American Airlines flight from Baltimore to Dallas Tuesday evening... "They didn't see an American, they didn't see a law enforcement professional. All they saw was a racial and ethnic profile that they didn't want on their flight." -- NY Times site.
posted by fold_and_mutilate (40 comments total)
It is very frustrating to travel these days as each airport and airline creates ad hoc processes for handling passenger screening. Travellers cannot plan the correct amount of time to allow, because they don't know what is required. Ereryone becomes frustrated, including airport workers.

What is sad is that people reduce the process down to racial types instead of basing judgements on whatever facts are present. The fact that this man was able to provide a secret service reference but it wasn't checked IMMEDIATELY is inexcusable.

Our recent terrorists are fools that behave oddly in airports, try to light their sneakers, take flying lessons that don't involve learning how to land.

My point - let's federalize this process and make it standard. As loopholes are found, institute improvements across ALL airport gates. I know it'll take time, but let's do it. Raise the price of tickets to pay for it if you must, but let's stop all this harassment of all people who happen to be brown.
posted by Red58 at 11:02 AM on December 27, 2001

By now the airlines should have dealt with this bullshit. You want to make the swarthy men go through extra searches and extra scans, fine. Be safe, be secure, that's top priority.

But giving pilots the choice of throwing out whatever passengers don't fit their color criteria is freaking illegal. I don't think I've ever said this before, but: crank up the lawyers.
posted by sacre_bleu at 11:07 AM on December 27, 2001

But giving pilots the choice of throwing out whatever passengers don't fit their color criteria is freaking illegal. I don't think I've ever said this before, but: crank up the lawyers.

Is it? I was under the impression that the pilots can make that decision at their discretion (not saying it is right or wrong, just sayin')
posted by adampsyche at 11:08 AM on December 27, 2001

doesn't make a lot of sense. The article said he was armed. So he was a badge-carrying, armed Secret Service agent and they didn't immediately call the Secret Service if they had a problem with it? How can they do anything besides just hassle him if they don't call to check his credentials? That is assinine. If i was in charge of those security personnell they would be working at taco bell now.
posted by th3ph17 at 11:17 AM on December 27, 2001

Why shouldn't patriotic Arab-Americans be willing to undertake the sacrifice of occasional insult, rudeness, or inconvenience for the sake of preserving the lives of their fellow Americans? Sure it's unfair. It was unfair for the federal government to seize hundreds of thousands of working class boys and press them into the armed services during World War Two. Thousands had to die against their wills, while millions of other Americans had to make no sacrifice at all in that conflict. That's how citizenship works. Sometimes you must suffer for your country, even when it's unfair and sucks to do so. I'm waiting for some Arab-American to stand up and say, "I don't mind being inconvenienced by extra scrutiny being made solely on the basis of my color, my appearance or my religion. If the authorities believe it will help defeat the terrorists and save lives, I'm proud to do it."
posted by Faze at 11:20 AM on December 27, 2001

Perhaps it is airline (or pilot union) policy to allow pilots the leeway to boot people they eyeball as suspicious. But such a practice clearly runs afoul of federal anti-discrimination law, which forbids different treatment of different classes of individuals by sex, age, race, etc.

The airlines' security forces should clearly be given wide latitude in checking out possible threats. But instead, they have done this: Forbidden suspicious looking people from flying, based only on the entirely subjective judgements of pilots and aircrew.

Faze, I'm sure many Arabs and others have willingly undergone extra scrutiny and searches. But when you find the guy is clean, you ought to let him on the plane, not say: You can't get on because your facial features scare me.
posted by sacre_bleu at 11:39 AM on December 27, 2001

I am glad there is a tight security at airports now. I will gladly show up 2 hours ahead of time, possible be searched or have my luggage searched, whatever for security's sake. But they wasted two hours interrogating a federal agent when they could have simply called the Secret Service and had his identity verified.

To respond to Faze's comment:
I think it's utter crap that Arab-Americans should have to deal with racial profiling. At the airport yesterday, I saw a lot of people (of all colors) questioned or asked to have articles inspected. If a red flag is raised upon inspection -- there there is a proper methodology to follow, which ensures fairness and efficiency. Interrogation in a back room without bothering to verify details is simply ridiculous and possibly dangerous.
posted by jennak at 11:40 AM on December 27, 2001

Faze: That's not a very good WW2 analogy, a better one would be "Why shouldn't patroitic Japanese Americans willingly go to internment camps?" -- because this is example has nothing to do with a need for extra security, and everything to do with paranoid morons doing a Real Bad Job at profiling.

If he had been submitted to extra searches, that'd be one thing, but they wouldn't let him fly, even after he told them to contact the secret service. These people (the airline, the pilots, airport "security") are dangerously incompetant, and clearly need to be replaced.
posted by malphigian at 11:54 AM on December 27, 2001

I certainly fit the pattern while flying yesterday, a somewhat swarthy young male travelling alone and without any carry-on baggage. I was frisked twice at every checkpoint, yet I overheard an FAA inspector at the Burlington, Vermont airport warning the security crew that they were in violation for not checking shoes.

I wholeheartedly concur with red58. I'm all for heightened security, but want to know what to expect to make my travelling easier. A word of advice to the security teams. Communicate verbally and clearly what it is you want me to do. I haven't done this before, and I don't know what your monosyllabic grunts and vague hand motions mean.

The ad-hoc, unstandardized nature of airport security isn't an intentional "keep you on your toes" byproduct, it is a telling example of airlines merely covering their ass. Without federal standards and workers, we will continue to be subject to a security environment as strong as the weakest "podunk town airport security" link.
posted by machaus at 11:58 AM on December 27, 2001

This whole profiling thing is very sticky. On the one hand, you can't judge a book by its cover; on the other hand, there is a certain profile for every single one of the individuals involved in the recent airplane incidents (Kafkaesque's elderly security lady notwithstanding). I have to honestly say that I have no problem with them giving extra attention to those who, on appearance and observable behavior, "fit that mold," for lack of a better way to put it. Then, once the person is inspected and deemed not a threat (to the best of our deeming ability), put him on the plane. I am not especially swarthy (Italian nonetheless) but I would have had no problem if airport security wanted to break out all my luggage for the world to see and give me any extra attention. Hell, I expected it. I was damn near crushed when they didn't chose me for a random search. What, I am not worth the attention? Bah!
posted by adampsyche at 12:01 PM on December 27, 2001

Faze:, wait, what's the creature I'm thinking of?
posted by solistrato at 12:04 PM on December 27, 2001

If i was in charge of those security personnell they would be working at taco bell now.

What?! You'd promote these people?!

Seriously, it's not like the pay scale, the qualification skills, nor the benefits are so far apart with either job. That's a fundamental part of the problem.
posted by warhol at 12:07 PM on December 27, 2001

"Why shouldn't patriotic Japanese Americans willingly go to internment camps?"
Indeed, malphigian, why not? This was the sacrifice that Japanese-Americans were being asked to make in that war. It was not so horrible, compared to that being asked of the 18-year-old boys who, for no other reason than that they fit into a particular demographic category, were forced to march into withering gunfire on beaches from the South Pacific to the Mediterranean. Furthermore, the Japanese-American internment may very well have prevented one, two, or many terrorist attacks on American soil by bottling up the potential perpetrators. We'll never know the answer to this. But under the circumstances, the Japanese-American internment was not entirely unjustified. That is to say, if the draft was also justified.
posted by Faze at 12:08 PM on December 27, 2001

I'm waiting for some Arab-American to stand up and say, "I don't mind being inconvenienced by extra scrutiny being made solely on the basis of my color, my appearance or my religion. If the authorities believe it will help defeat the terrorists and save lives, I'm proud to do it."

Why wait for someone else to stand up and be proud? Why not just take the actions that you can do yourself to speed up the process?

Here, repeat after me:

"I don't mind being suspicious of anyone that doesn't look like me, acts differently, holds different values, or is just plain odd."

"Furthermore, since FBI profiling shows that most child molesters are white males, then by god, start pulling us over to do background checks! And serial killers! We might all be serial killers. Us whities should just be systematically detained if the authorities believe it will help defeat the terrorists and save lives!"

"And, the largest percentage of the prison population are young black males. Let's get them in the slammer even sooner if the authorities believe it will help defeat the terrorists and save lives!"
posted by warhol at 12:15 PM on December 27, 2001

Man, I must love dancing around the open pit barbecue with a big open container of gasoline.
posted by warhol at 12:16 PM on December 27, 2001

Umm, the point here being that if we won't tolerate profiling with *some* groups of people, how can we justify it with other groups of people?
posted by warhol at 12:18 PM on December 27, 2001

As a white male, I have no problem undergoing inconvenience and indignity to protect children from child molesters. I'll never forget the time I was asked to pick up my girlfriend's six-year-old son from elementary school. As a non-parent, I was publicly halted upon entering the school, taken aside and grilled in a highly offensive and insinuating manner by a bunch of incompetent bozos of the sort that reminded me of why I hated elementary school when I was there. But I did not complain. Yes, it's demographic profiling, but so what? Better I should suffer than that a child should be kidnapped, or molested by the next white male who walks through the door...
posted by Faze at 12:35 PM on December 27, 2001

I wonder...the fact that as a Secret Service agent, the man is an "insider"...if this incident was intentionally staged for consumption by the press, as a warning to "real" terrorists that we're willing to violate a few civil rights in order to find them?

Just trying to stay disinformed...
posted by groundhog at 12:47 PM on December 27, 2001

Furthermore, the Japanese-American internment may very well have prevented one, two, or many terrorist attacks on American soil

Actually, you're probably right. Many more Japanese-Americans probably would have been attacked had they not been safely locked away from white Americans.

Sorry faze, but being "grilled" by elementary school officials is hardly the same as being removed from your home and forced (not "asked") to live in isolation for several years.
posted by groundhog at 12:56 PM on December 27, 2001

Last night on talk radio, the host was complaining about her flight from LaGuardia to O'Hare. They made her - yes, her! - take off her boots to have them inspected. She was frustrated. "I don't look like a terrorist," was her on-air defense; she's a white woman.

Another person called in to share her story; she, too, had had her shoes checked on a recent flight. "I don't know why they stopped me," she said, "I'm not a terrorist. Look at that shoe bomber: you can tell he's a terrorist," she said. "And those other guys - you can tell."

Can anyone explain how two seemingly random women have the ability to "tell" who terrorists are? If so, we need to sign them up ASAP - they can help the country out.

No one should have to deal with racial profiling in the year 2002. I wonder what, if anything, will come of the agent's incident.
posted by hijinx at 1:24 PM on December 27, 2001

No one should have to deal with racial profiling in the year 2002.
Hijinx, racial, or demographic profiling simply applies the logic of affirmative action to crime prevention. If it is morally permissible to note demographic imbalances for the purpose of social action that redresses the injustice of racial discrimination, it is morally permissible to note demographic imbalances for the purpose of social action to prevent crime or capture criminals. There is a certain amount of collateral injustice involved in both; but we overlook it in the case of affirmative action because it serves a greater social good. What could be a greater social good than the prevention of crime and terroristic mass murder?
posted by Faze at 1:37 PM on December 27, 2001

Actually Faze, The Munson Report in November 1941 found no evidence of espionage or sabotage by members of the Japanese American community. But perhaps that is to be expected, as over half of the 120,000+ residents of the internment camps were children.

Of course, they are still making sacrifices:
"Long-term health consequences included psychological anguish as well as increased cardiovascular disease. Survey information found former internees had a 2.1 greater risk of cardiovascular disease, cardiovascular mortality, and premature death than did a non-interned counterpart."

"The Experience of Injustice: Health Consequences of the Japanese American Internment", Gwendolyn M. Jensen
As for a comparison to those who were drafted, you do realize that many Japanese-Americans volunteered for the armed forces, and served in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team?
posted by eckeric at 1:49 PM on December 27, 2001

From the makers of GAYDAR, comes the new must have tool for 2002, TERRORDAR.
posted by Razzle Bathbone at 1:49 PM on December 27, 2001

Faze: As it turns out, my plan is for Arab Americans and other Americans to make the same exact sacrifice: suffer (perhaps) danger in order to live in an American that doesn't promote racism. This is, I think, the bedrock of my decision. There are costs associated with all of our liberties and rights. I believe that racial profiling is wrong. If (IF!) we have to pay a price in unpunished crime and increased murder then I think we should.

I feel strongly that this is an issue of some moral consequence. I mean, let's face it, I'm black, and if anyone wants to profile any of my nieces and nephews they can rot in hell. Is that unreasonable?

p.s. I really hope you're actually do support A. Action because otherwise your last post just confuses me.
posted by Wood at 1:50 PM on December 27, 2001

I am against racial profiling of any kind, for the simple reason that it confirms and prolongs our biases. Warhol brings up black males in prison, for example. I have seen great posters that have a picture of Hitler next to a picture of Martin Luther King, Jr., with the caption "the man on the right (King) is three times as likely to be pulled over by the police than the man on the left (Hitler.)
In other words, what I feel I need to remind you all of is that racial profiling is often the _cause_ of the very same statistic that it is based on. For a concrete example, more blacks are asked to exit their vehicles by suspicious (usually white) cops than whites, because cops have it in the back of their mind that blacks are more likely to be criminals. Because more blacks' cars get searched, more blacks get arrested, thus increasing the black to white ratio in prisons. This ratio is what the cops are basing their stereotypes on in the first place, but they are helping to keep the ratio where it is by doing so. If we want to have the people who most deserve prison sentences in prison, we must not affect their chances of being imprisoned according to behaviors that are not criminal, i.e. being black.

On a side note: Faze, many Japanese-Americans were separated from their families, beaten, starved, and some died during WWII in the U.S. It's not a question of getting grilled with rude questions. How would you feel about the stereotype of white men being child molesters if, when you took that child into school, the teachers dragged you into a closet and beat you, threatened to kill your family if you didn't tell them what you'd done to the kid, etc. ? It's just not the same.
posted by zekinskia at 2:14 PM on December 27, 2001

Sorry to blow my own horn some more, but isn't it lame that the only reason this story is news is that the guy getting kicked off a plane and having his plans screwed up by racial profiling was a fed? It's not like hundreds of others haven't been experiencing this since 9/11. But they're just "regular" citizens, so who cares right?
posted by zekinskia at 2:22 PM on December 27, 2001

Why shouldn't patriotic Arab-Americans be willing to undertake the sacrifice of occasional insult, rudeness, or inconvenience for the sake of preserving the lives of their fellow Americans?

Well then, since there are so many people of colour who traffick drugs up the east coast, I guess I'm unpatriotic because I'm unwilling to undertake the sacrifice of being pulled over repeatedly and allowing my vehicle to be searched while I travel up and down I-95 just because I fit a profile -- even though getting drugs off the street will preserve the lives of many of my (stupid) fellow Americans.

It comes down to this -- to continue to treat "flying while brown" as a special condition which requires special scrutiny -- and further, to suggest that it is unpatriotic for the "brown" to feel their liberty is infringed upon when they are singled out for heightened security based solely upon their ethnicity, is appalling. And that's what's happening. These people are not acting any differently from anyone else, these people are not in any way out of order, they are simply people from (or the descendents of people from) a certain part of the globe.

We have but two choices: we are either going to have to accept that all air passengers have gone through the same security, have all had their ID checked three times, have all had their nail clippers and dead-batteried Palm Pilots confiscated, their shoes, purses and briefcases x-rayed, and there is nothing else that can be done to ferret out those who may have ill intent, or we are going to have to have segregated air travel, one set of planes for the White people, one set for the Arab people, one set for the Asian people, one set for the Black people, one set for anyone who doesn't fall into those general categories.

I pointed out today (discussing this same topic on a radio talk show) that as a woman of colour, the people I view most suspiciously (with reason) are white men, but I really doubt it if anyone would take me seriously if I pointed out a white man on a plane and said "He's suspicious to me." But when the reverse happens -- a white person gets their undies in a bunch over a person of colour, it's enough to have that person of colour kicked off of their flight. It's thinly veiled racism couched under "security" and "recent history has taught us" garbage, and this incident with the SS agent makes that all the more clear.
posted by Dreama at 2:23 PM on December 27, 2001

I really think I am for profiling in this case.

It's great pie in the sky thought to assume that everyone is a potential terrorist, but its foolhardy to assume that there isn't a very specific threat by a specific racial group at this point in time - mainly arab males.

This particular case was rather stupid, as his credentials were easily verified.

With regards to blacks and crime, again I feel you are blaming the wrong party. True, there are many cops who unduly infringe the rights of black men (I've had it happen to me). But the statistics say a black man is more likely to be the perpetrator of a crime, so until the black community can self-correct instead of taking the easy route of pawning of ills on racist cops - I can't say all forms of profiling are completely without merit.
posted by owillis at 2:28 PM on December 27, 2001

profiling for security reasons leaves too many loopholes. What if they plant the exploding shoes with the white grandma? what if its c4 built into a walkman sold to some 14 year-old kid while his parents are checking bags?

i think passengers will take care of hijackers in the future. Bombs have a different purpose, different delivery, and different security measures need to be taken.

Instead of national guard troops at the airport, train more bomb-sniffing dogs. Something. The thing about this incident that still alarms me is that this was someone with a Gun. On a plane. They removed him, but didn't check his story? that is insane. Besides that, i thought Feds got to boss around local security types.
posted by th3ph17 at 3:12 PM on December 27, 2001

Profiling bothers me, largely because I don't like being followed around certain stores by "undercover" security personnel out of the misplaced fear that I'm going to rob them blind as soon as they turn around.

...which is almost entirely different than airport profiling, but the general thought is the same: that by virtue of appearance/culture/etc., you aren't as valuable as other people.

This is, amusingly enough, the same tone frequently taken by innumerable terrorists and penny-ante "spiritual leaders" -- the mere fact that I live in one country or another automatically qualifies me as a murder target, because a sizable percentage of my fellow inhabitants follow a different religion, or because they elect politicians that disagree with the terrorists, happen to work in a Federal building, etc.

If the West is going to be the Good Guys, they need to be better than their opponents and avoid some useful tactics that are socially undesirable (like profiling). If they can't bother with that, then they should at least have the decency to quit being hypocritical and really get down to the business of wholesale slaughter. If you're going to fight fire with fire, you may as well use a nuke.
posted by aramaic at 4:01 PM on December 27, 2001

I think the whole profiling argument comes down to a framing problem. Most people frame the problem by describing the general population. Blacks make up 10% of the population, so if more than 10% of the profiled drivers are black it's racist. This is wrong. You need to look at the population from which you're sampling, not the total population. To truly be free of bias, you have to sample in a manner which matches your estimates of the population.

So, for instance, if 99% of a (terrorist) population happens to be arab male, and you don't sample(profile) at the same frequency, then you are introducing bias.

Similarly, if 20% of drug-runners happen to be black, then 20% of your profiles should be black, not 10% which represents the total black population.

Now, what you do have to be careful of is that you don't get the results you're looking for, e.g. 50% of drug runners are black because we only profile black drivers. This is the circularity argument and it has been dealt with in a fair manner, I think, by Heather Mac Donald, in a good article titled "The Myth of Racial Profiling"
posted by prodigal at 5:05 PM on December 27, 2001

It's thinly veiled racism couched under "security" and "recent history has taught us" garbage, and this incident with the SS agent makes that all the more clear.
It is not garbage, it is a fact: because unfortunately the 19 scumbags of 9/11 all fit a precise profile. Unfortunately there are no Eskimo women as we know of being trained in Al Qaeda camps as "martyrs", i.e. suicide bombers or hijackers. Al Qaeda is mostly an all-men club, almost all-Arabic or Middle Eastern (OK, there's that California Taliban, there are a few Europeans). Unfortunately racial profiling, these days, if you're looking for Osama's boys, is an important part of police work. Cops -- or pilots -- could get paranoid, and make mistakes. And those are very bad mistakes they should try to avoid. But allowing on board the Paris-Miami flight that Osama-lookalike with C-4 in his shoes was an even more terrible mistake which could have cost about 200 lives. To compare airport security after 9/11 with rogue, racist cops who like to harass black motorists in America is is trying to compare apples and oranges, excuse me.
posted by matteo at 6:09 AM on December 28, 2001

The Washington Post cites an inconsitency in paperwork as the reason he was denied passage.

"This situation had nothing to do with the agent's ethnicity," Burke said. "This is about American Airlines confirming that an armed individual is indeed who he says he is."

Ah. Well. That's different.
posted by idiolect at 6:40 AM on December 28, 2001

Not to drag this out to tiresome length, but let us begin by replacing the term "racial profiling" with "demographic selectivity." During World War 2, two groups were chosen by the government for demographically selected action that the government believed would increase security and defeat the enemy. The first group was Japanese-Americans. The second group was (mainly) white males between the ages of 18 and 34, who were subject to the draft. Both groups were removed from their homes and neighborhoods under the threat of punishment, and interned in camps, barracks, or other restricted environments. The Japanese underwent great psychological and physical discomfort. The white males not only underwent great psychological and physical discomfort (ask your grandad what it was like), they were also shipped overseas and, in many cases, placed in situations where they were shot at, bombed, or were subject to drowning. Many tens of thousands died horribly, or were maimed for life. Now, let me ask this question: If it is legally and morally permissible for the government to remove the one demographic group (the young men) from their homes, and put them into camps, and force them to suffer for the purposes of national security, why is it not legally and morally permissible for the government to do that to the other demographic group (Japanese-Americans)? Why does the forcible drafting and killing of young men pass without disapproval, and the mere internment (in family groups, no less) of Japanese-Americans is considered an atrocity? Is it because the internment of Japanese-Americans did not affect the outcome of the war? To this, I would say, how many deaths of young American soldiers affected the outcome of the war? How many American campaigns (Italy, the Pacific) turned out, in retrospect, to be complete wastes of human life? If you permit the draft, you must (logically) permit government-sponsored demographic profiling for other purposes -- including crime prevention and drug interdiction. I will be happy to take this argument further, if anyone is interested…
posted by Faze at 7:36 AM on December 28, 2001

Faze: What could be a greater social good than the prevention of crime and terroristic mass murder?

Finding the source and cause of said crime and mass murder and preventing it before it starts. Treating people of all races, genders, and ages with equality and respect. Giving people an equal opportunity. Teaching people to love instead of hate.

But those are all too radical, really, to be accepted by society. So I guess I'm with the terrorists. (cough cough wheeze)

Also, Faze, it's no longer "morally permissable" to displace any groups based on ethnicity because we've become smarter in that regard. Or at least I thought we did.
posted by hijinx at 7:41 AM on December 28, 2001

Of course Faze is comparing apples to oranges here. If the young Japanese-American men were not isolated in internment camps, they would have been drafted also. In spite of the internment many Japanese-American men did serve in the U.S. Armed Forces during World War II, as did most German-American and Italian-American men of similar pedigree. So it is quite possible to support the draft (which I don't, but that is an unrelated argument) and not support racism (might as well call it what it is while avoiding euphemisms such as "demographic sensitivity.") One simply has to argue that the performance and loyalty of Japanese-American servicemen during World War II reveals that they should never have been interred and should been subjected to the same draft system as everybody else.

In fact, you can make a strong argument that racial profiling in regards to national security does more harm than good. After all one of the problems with the internment camps during World War II is the Americans lost a valuable intelligence resource because patriotic Japanese-Americans were stuck cooling their heels in internment camps when they could have been translating the reams and reams of captured and decrypted documentation. From a cost benefit analysis, both the McCarthy hearings and the internment of Japanese-Americans were a failure with total economic costs in the millions and not a single enemy agent discovered.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:59 AM on December 28, 2001


I find a really interesting that my fellow Americans intend to overestimate the once-in-a-lifetime threats and underestimate the threats that are considerably more likely to cause serious bodily harm. For example, you are a couple of orders of magnitude more likely to get injured due to an air rage incident with a white male (probably a smoker) then be a victim of a terrorist attack. And yet so far we have avoided profiling the middle-aged white males who hang out in the smoking section of airports until the last minute before their flight departs as a potential threat to their fellow passengers. In fact, such restraint is amazing considering that a white male was responsible for and attempted hijacking during an air rage incident immediately after the Sept. 11th attacks.

In regards to drug-related criminal offenses. I find it amazing that anonymous public health surveys tend to show that drug use is very prevalent among whites, but criminal records are strongly biased toward prosecution of African-American and Hispanic populations. The answer seems to be that not only are we Caucasians using a greater volume of drugs but that we get away with that more frequently.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 8:14 AM on December 28, 2001

my fellow Americans intend to overestimate the once-in-a-lifetime threats
I hear you, but tell me about the once-in-a-lifetime threats when the next attack will have been carried out. Or, when those "once-in-a-lifetime threat" Al Qaeda guys actually get their hands on some little nuclear device. I hope you're right, of course, I hope air rage from drunken guys and barf stains will be the air traveller's biggest fear in the future. Giuliani and Rumsfeld apparently don't agree with that pov and they're expecting new lethal attacks. Many of us think 9/11 has been the beginning of something very frightening, not a once in a lifetime episode
Teaching people to love instead of hate.
I admire your compassion: but I think that you'll have a hell of a time trying to teach all those Al Qaeda guys how to love. That Mohammed Atta looked like he wasn't really a loving guy. I mean, looked pretty hostile to me. Maybe he was abused as a child? Well, I dunno. Anyway until suicide terrorist have been taught how to love, I'll feel just bit safer if some form of less compassionate repression is carried out
posted by matteo at 12:30 PM on December 28, 2001

Well, for once I'm in full agreement with George W. Bush: "I talked to the man this morning," Bush said. "I told him how proud I was that he was by my side. He's here on the ranch, and he's guarding me. And of course, I was [upset]."..."There's an inquiry going on as to specifically what took place," Bush said. But if he was treated that way because of his ethnicity, that's — that will make me madder than heck." All right, Dubya!
posted by Carol Anne at 1:19 PM on December 28, 2001

CNN reports:

"The Council on American-Islamic Relations said the agent asked the airline to call the Secret Service to verify his identity. Even when local transit police vouched for the agent, the pilot refused to let him board the plane, the council said. The agent eventually was sent to another American Airlines flight, but was banned from boarding the aircraft because he had been reported for "suspicious activity," according to the council. The agent ultimately took yet another flight to Texas. Secret Service agents who fly aboard commercial jets must disclose their identity and any weapons they intend to carry on board, according to current protocol. It is not unusual for authorities to question agents about their weapons, officials said, but these matters are typically resolved without incident."
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 1:30 PM on December 28, 2001

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