Are we giving up our freedom for the illusion of safety?

In the wake of the destruction of the World Trade center buildings and the Pentagon, the flying public is now being saddled with new comprehensive restrictions on what they may carry aboard an aircraft. In a sane society, the first question would be, "Are these restrictions going to be effective?" After giving this a bit of thought, I would have to say that the answer is obviously "no".

Prior to the attack by these cowardly terrorists, we'd become accustomed to being denied the ability to protect ourselves as it has been illegal since around 1968 to carry firearms aboard aircraft. We have allowed those who make the laws in this country to disarm us, and now they are not even satisfied with this level of debasement. Now, we are told, that carry-on bags and pocket knives are to be disallowed. It seems the peasants are going to be pretty much stuck with eating the garbage that passes for airline food while they sit and twiddle their thumbs.

I don't know about you, but I feel naked without my Swiss army knife. It's a handy little gizmo that just loves to be as useful as it can be, whether it's opening a letter, loosening a screw, or opening a bottle of wine. But, because we've allowed ourselves to be disarmed to the point that a bunch of thugs with box cutters can take control of an airplane with no opposition. The really amazing thing to me, is that the solution is to even further disarm us!

Actually, that's not completely true. They are considering implementing a 'sky marshal' program again, where they will place someone on the plane with one of those evil firearms of their choosing to watch over the poor sheep that we have become. Does anyone else but me suspect that perhaps the next attack will come from one of these very same 'marshals'? Would that not be the obvious link for a well-financed terrorist organization to attempt to compromise? After all, this is going to be the only armed person on the plane. Even if they are unable to subvert this program and substitute their own man, he still will make himself the obvious target for their attention. One would hope that he wouldn't be easily identifiable. Knowing how government works though, that probably won't be the case.

We now understand that the attacks carried out last week were in the planning stages for perhaps years. This is not some bunch of petty criminals with 30-minute attention spans (as are most of our congresscritters). They know how to wait us out for our resolve and resistance to fade. In the future, I doubt the highjacker's weapon of choice will be pocket knives and box cutters.

If you think about it for a moment, you will see that there are plenty of ways to get sharp instruments on board an aircraft. While knives are traditional amongst criminals, are there any means available that would stop them from using glass? When I was at a renaissance festival this year, I was quite impressed with the obsidian knives on display. Flint will similarly not register on metal detectors. Is it now the position of the government that prior to boarding an aircraft, all passengers must be strip searched, or at least frisked? If it is their desire to be honest with you, then it must be recognized that only these measures will actually reduce the ability of to smuggle cutting instruments on an aircraft.

The real solution to the problem is to return to the policies of an earlier, and I would claim, saner day when passengers could arm themselves and take responsibility for their own lives. For the hand-wringing crowd, I might be willing to suggest that those wanting to be armed might have to present a concealed-carry permit or other such identification to the crew prior to boarding. Citizens of Vermont, whose legislature can read and thus have no laws restricting the carrying of arms (see second amendment to the Constitution) would not be required to show anything other than some proof of residency and/ or perhaps citizenship.

Of course it is foolish to expect such sanity in this day and age.

I wonder if the next time I fly, will I be allowed by our masters to bring along a book to read. Perhaps they will feel the danger of someone getting a paper cut might be deemed too risky.


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