Walter E. Williams

 What about the TSA confiscation of "dangerous" personal items such as tweezers, hat pins, sewing scissors, knitting needles, etc.? I hope I'm not giving the TSA ideas, but I've watched a number of television shows featuring supermax prisons like California's Pelican Bay. Among the items prisoners fashion into lethal weapons are ballpoint pens, belts, eyeglass temples, glass containers and toothbrushes, all of which the TSA permits on airplanes. So what's the TSA's reasoning for allowing ballpoint pens on planes but not tweezers?

 Most hijackings and recent terrorist acts have been committed by young Muslim extremists. That's not to say that all or nearly all Muslims pose a threat to security. But if one is looking for potential terrorists, the larger proportion of resources should be spent screening Muslim passengers. Screening the blind and disabled, mothers and children, and senior citizens is not going to have much of a payoff unless the goal is not to have tweezers or a G.I. Joe doll holding a rifle on the plane.


If I were a terrorist, I'd appreciate the fact that the TSA treats every passenger as having an equal likelihood of being a security threat. Fewer resources would be available to screen me. When law-abiding people are the subject of profiling, it's unfair, and they are insulted -- and rightfully so. The true source of the injustice they face are those responsible for making "Muslim" near synonymous with "terrorism."

 Even if I don't fly commercial anymore, I care about the TSA's waste of resources. There are potential terrorist targets in many areas such as ports, railroads and infrastructure, but roughly 90 percent of TSA's funding is spent on airports operating under the assumption that every passenger and every bag have an equal likelihood of being a security threat. That's stupid.

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.'
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