Walter E. Williams
We have no less than unadulterated idiots in charge of airport security. You say, "What is it this time, Williams?" Last month, while boarding a Midwest Express flight to Milwaukee, former Vice President Al Gore was pulled aside at the boarding gate. He was frisked and his carry-on luggage searched. The entire flight was boarded before Reagan National Airport guards concluded that Al Gore posed no hijacking threat. It was more of the same on his return flight to Washington. How might we reconcile these security measures with any semblance of intelligence? Did the airport security people think Al Gore harbored lingering anger from his controversial election defeat at the hands of George Bush and became an Al Qaeda operative out to destroy the United States? Could it be that security people think Americans will put up with anything, no matter how stupid, as long as there's equality in treatment? If you think that the answer is no, try some responses from the nation's leaders. Human Events (June 24) interviewed several U.S. senators asking them: "Al Gore was searched twice last week in U.S. airports. Isn't that a waste of limited resources?" Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., replied: "No, they do that to anybody. It's a random check." When asked the same question, Sen. John Breaux, D-La., said, "No, I think everyone ought to be subjected to the same rules, whether it's a member of Congress or a member of the Senate, all public officials." Sen. Jim Bunning, R.-Ky., answered: "I've been searched 20 times. ... That's the way it should be. We shouldn't be exempt from that." How might we explain these senatorial responses? Is there the remotest chance that a senator might be a terrorist hijacker? I'm guessing that the average person would say no; senators confine their terrorism to our pocketbooks. What about the chances that a terrorist has asked a senator to carry on board a weapon that can be used to hijack an airliner? Again, I'm guessing the average sane person would answer no. But there's another possible explanation that should never be ruled out: When looking for a reason why people do certain things, never rule out sheer stupidity. What makes the Al Gore frisk and search even more stupid is the fact that he was traveling from and to Reagan National Airport. All flights in and out of metropolitan Washington's Reagan National airport are accompanied by armed sky marshals. Columnist Ann Coulter, writing in the same issue of Human Events, puts her finger on it: "Searching Al Gore is a purely religious act. It's purposeless, fetishistic performance of rituals in accordance with the civic religion of liberalism." This religion of liberalism that's a part of the Bush administration has the potential to produce great death and destruction in our nation. A few weeks ago, FBI Director Robert Mueller told the Senate Judiciary Committee that "immediately after Sept. 11," when the FBI was trying to stop "a second wave of terrorists out there," FBI policy was this, according to Mueller: "We're not looking for individuals of any particular religion or from any particular country." If the director is telling the truth, he ought to be fired for aggravated stupidity and endangering the lives of Americans. One of the best immediate things that Bush can do for the fight against terrorism is to fire both Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta and his undersecretary, John Magaw, both of whom have waged war against a pilot's right to carry firearms as a last-ditch means to protect his plane and passengers. If F-16s are ever scrambled to shoot down a commercial airliner, Mineta and Magaw have a lot of explaining to do, and so does President Bush.

Walter E. Williams

Dr. Williams serves on the faculty of George Mason University as John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics and is the author of 'Race and Economics: How Much Can Be Blamed on Discrimination?' and 'Up from the Projects: An Autobiography.'
 
TOWNHALL DAILY: Be the first to read Walter Williams' column. Sign up today and receive Townhall.com daily lineup delivered each morning to your inbox.