The government's logical calculus on flight security has long been: Really Annoying equals Safe Plane. (Say you were a tribesman from a distant island and had never in your entire life seen a seat belt before. Don't you think you could figure it out?)
The FAA's new hijacker repellant is this: Passengers will now have to show boarding passes to get to the gates. This wily stratagem will stop cold any hijackers on suicide missions who forgot to buy airline tickets.
It's times like this that I get down on my knees and thank God we have a federal Department of Transportation.
The genius security procedures laboriously implemented by the government over the past decade certainly served this country well on Bloody Tuesday. The real puzzler is how the hijackers managed to evade the "Did you pack your own bags?" trap. Only further investigation will solve that mystery.
Last week a CNN anchor raised the "Did you pack your own bags?" dragnet and somberly remarked -- this is a quote -- "No one will answer those questions so cavalierly again." We certainly won't. We will all remember: If those asinine questions hadn't been asked of millions of travelers day in day out year after year, enragingly stupid every time, it might have been possible for 19 murderous hijackers to board four separate commercial jets in America almost simultaneously one Tuesday morning.
Oh -- no, wait. The hijackers weren't foiled. But somehow the manifest irrelevance of the "Did you pack your own bags?" question has become its principal selling point.
We are also grateful for the magnetometers. The McDonald's rejects who man the machines are so efficient and courteous, you hardly notice them anymore. That's sarcasm. Despite addled TV commentators claiming that, heretofore, travelers had breezed right through the metal detectors, these are obviously people who haven't flown since the '50s.
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