Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A Modest Proposal

On Christmas Day 2009, aspiring Nigerian pantybomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab set his explosive-laden underwear on fire in an attempt to bring down the aeroplane on which he was traveling to Detroit. This was the first attempt to bring down an American airliner since shoebomber Richard Reid tried to light his explosive shoes on fire in late 2001. It was also a huge failure in airport security, since security protocols had been strengthened multiple times since the September 11 attacks, and this sort of thing was just not supposed to happen anymore.

To it's credit, the US administration immediately tried to rectify these security holes. Homeland Security Janet Napolitano tried in a time tested manner to stick her head in the metaphorical sand and pretend that security worked just fine. The Transportation Security Administration issued new guidelines that would ban blankets, toilet privileges for passengers and inflight movies on the theory that if flying was made tedious enough, terrorists would refuse to fly. Bill Clinton (who is not a member of the administration but might as well be) redoubled his efforts to reduce the number of virgins in the world and the next, thereby denying terrorists a valuable recruiting tool.

However, it is already apparent that these measures will not fly. The American public is in no mood to be denied its blankets, potty breaks and the chance to catch up on old reruns of Friends on boring long-haul intercontinental flights. They are even less inclined to put up with intrusive searches by hand or even by the proposed new millimeter scanners (that would report TSAs to see, save and share with 37 of their best friends images of your privates). The administration is thus caught between a chunk of vitrified minerals and a hard place: It must make sure that such attacks never come so close to success in the future, but it must also try and not inconvenience the great majority of the American flying public. The security apparat is this scrambling to find a new security protocol that will allow them to stay within these two strictures.

It is our opinion that there already exists a method that would allow the TSA to secure American planes while at the same time keeping most passengers from unnecessary discomfort. However the weak-kneed civil libertarians and bleeding heart liberals who currently populate power structures in Washington are too yellow to even consider it. That method, that solution, that silver bullet is a simple technique perfected by police departments in ghettos across America: Profiling. But how would this profiling work?
A Typical Engineer
Consider this: What is common to Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri, Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, Mohammad Atta and Umar Frouk Abdulmutallab other than they are all lowlife terrorist scum? That's right, they are all engineers. Engineers are overrpresented in the membership Jihadi terrorist groups. Al-Qaeda and the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood (the parent organisation of Hamas), the Lashkar e-Taiba, Jamiya Islamia and Hezbollah were chiefly founded by engineers. It is no exaggeration that most if not all the top leadership of jihadi groups are trained in engineering. This phenomenon is so striking that sociologists write lengthy papers (link pdf) trying to explain this trend.

But what does this have to do with airplane security and with profiling? Well, it's simple. While it is true that most engineers are not terrorists, it is evident that almost all terrorists are engineers. That being the case, it is the our opinion that if you are male, an engineer and between 18 and 28 years of age, you should be strip searched at the security gate of airports. This is a serious and harsh version of profiling, but if we do not do this, we are going to lose an airliner. It also has the effect of reducing the level of scrutiny that other passengers go through. Sadly, given the climate of appeasement and political correctness that permeates the holders of power in this country, that is unlikely to happen. And I think that is the problem.

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